The rabid fans of the View Askewniverse, the name for Kevin Smith’s cinematic universe that comes from the name of his production company, have had many theories as to why “Clerks” was filmed in black-and-white. Some of the theories had to do with the mundane nature of the movie’s subject matter, and how when you’re working a job you hate, the world doesn’t quite feel like it’s in color. Others claimed that, because the movie was in black and white, it seemed to have been shot from the perspective of the store’s security cameras.
In the Colbert interview, however, Smith and his longtime friend and collaborator Jason Mewes reveal how simple the real explanation is. “People think it was a creative choice, it was because there was no money,” said Mewes, smiling and discrediting years of discourse at once. “I always have to say that cuz I don’t want people thinking ‘oh he did it, it was creative.'”
Smith acknowledged a critic who had put forward the security camera footage theory, handling the theories in his usual un-self-serious way. “Every interview I did after that, I’d be like ‘We shot it in black and white because we wanted to seem like it was shot from the store security camera.'”
Even if “Clerks” being black and white wasn’t an intentional artistic choice, it still made a great impact on the film. If people saw the movie in black and white and took away from that some extra bit of insight, who cares whether it was intentional or not? Once the art leaves the hands of the artists, it’s all of ours to make a big fuss over.
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