Not Extinct

Apoplectic that to illustrate a story about de-extincting the thylacine the NFSA today supplied The Guardian with a frame from a film shot in 1933 which had been colourised for them a few years ago by the French company Composite Films. Colourisation is a blight. The idea that history originally shot in black and white is somehow ‘dead’ until it is brought ‘back to life’ by added colour robs younger generations of historical literacy and any chance to appreciate the textures, qualities, forms and nuances of past media.

These joyless, dimensionless, expensive, banal projects of colourisation are bad enough, but when they then produce frames that can lazily circulate without any warning that they have been colourised (the caption only says it has been digitized), that is even worse.

The past preserved in past media is not like the thylacine, it is not extinct, it can still be appreciated within its own forms.