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In Cinema 1, Deleuze proposes the “color‐image,” a type of film image with an “absorbent characteristic” that does not refer to a particular object but seizes all that happens within its range. Like color‐images, racial categories have an absorbent, seizing quality: they assert “color” at the expense of the object of representation. Deleuze does not address the potential applications of his concept to race, but they are especially illuminating when applied to early color‐process cinema. This essay approaches The Toll of the Sea (dir. Chester M. Franklin, 1922), starring Anna May Wong and set in China, the first Technicolor film to be widely distributed in general release, as a feature‐length “China Girl” and feature‐length color‐image, in Deleuze's sense. It further shows how Wong and her world are virtualized in this film under the rubric of a fictional orientalist palette.
King, H. 2021. "Anna May Wong and the Color Image." liquid blackness 5.2: 59–73.
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