“A Patch of Pink–Or Green” Tells Sad Tale of Colorblind

PARK CITY, Utah.  With the 2009 Sundance Film Festival set to begin in three days, the early buzz from critics emerging from previews is that “A Patch of Pink–or Green” is the entrant most likely to achieve both artistic and commercial success when it is released later this year.

Sundance Film Festival

“I was in tears from the opening credits until I got up to get a box of Jujubes,” said Jenelle Bridges, a film student at the University of Southern California.  “Then as soon as I got back, I started bawling like a baby all over again.”

Bridges:  “That was so–freaking–sad!”

“Pink or Green” as festival-goers affectionately refer to it, is the story of Evan Jamison, a color-blind boy who overcomes his handicap to become chief mens’ clothes buyer at Filene’s, the defunct Boston department store.

Cahiers du Cinema:  If you can’t understand this, take it to someone who can.

“It’s got everything going for it,” said Antoine Ste. Joan, who is covering the festival for Cahiers du Cinema, the high-brow French film magazine.  “A sad story line, lots of ambiguous sexuality and the demise of a petit bourgeois American commercial enterprise.”

Ste. Joan:  “Eet ees not as good as a Jerry Lewis film, but then so few are.”

The film describes Jamison’s journey from a young boy whose classmates taunt him for the mismatched color schemes he wears to class at a rough-and-tumble public school in Newton, Massachusetts, to necktie counter clerk at a small men’s store, and finally to the pinnacle of the retail clothing industry–a position as chief buyer of a major department store chain.

“I see London, I see France–Why are you wearing hot pink pants?”

Jamison’s color-blindness is discovered in a dramatic scene in which his principal competitor, a cold and calculating female buyer, places two tie-shirt combos in front of him in an attempt to embarass him before top executives.  When he incorrectly places a pink tie on a green shirt and vice versa, his disability is exposed, leading to a reassignment to Filene’s Basement, the store’s cut-rate discount outlet.

Filene’s:  The basement is downstairs.

Jamison fights back, risking everything by purchasing unsold pink oxford-cloth shirts from Brooks Brothers that he believes are green.  When pink shirts become fashionable, he is able to sell the inventory at a significant mark-up, and is promoted over his rival.  The store is ultimately forced to close when Jamison places a substantial order for peach-colored shirts that he believes are blue, but he vows to continue his struggle at a factory outlet store in New Hampshire.

“Bobby–put down that baseball bat.  You can realize your dream of becoming an interior decorator!”

Color-blindness is primarily a male affliction, striking about 6% of boys but only .5% of girls.  Parents of color-blind boys say the film has given them new hope that their sons can overcome their handicap.  “We always told our son that if he worked hard and played by the rules he could realize his dream of becoming an interior decorator, but we were lying,” says Tom Childress of Utica, New York.  “Maybe this movie will prove us wrong.”

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