The following was a contribution that I made to Wikipedia a while ago…but sadly was deleted. I’m reposting this one because I’m adding a picture with it to make it stand out more 😉
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is visually powerful. It makes the viewers eyes ‘smell’ the film. The contrast between the wealthy and the poor is another indication of color, which is the medium with which the theme of scent is used. One can see that the colour ‘builds’ starting off small and rising to a crescendo in the orgy scene a few minutes before the Grenouille’s final performance (i.e. sacrificing himself to the peasants).
The rich colors are associated with wealth, while the more bland ones are associated with peasants and Genouille’s genesis. This society is one bound by class. The hierarchy is clearly seen and a further division (i.e. perfume) makes the line between rich and poor even more distinct. The initial sensuous image and scent that Grenouille experiences would be that of the young woman slicing plums. This is also happens to be his first murder victim. This kind of color in a murky street startles the viewer.
The film Girl with a Pearl Earring directed by Peter Webber, is an competitor in terms of excellent cinematography. Although the latter does not include and use the lower class in such a graphic sense. The themes are very different, but the in terms of powerful images they are evenly matched. Webber’s film uses colour that is slightly more ‘washed out’ and neutral, whereas Perfume: The Story of a Murderer uses wealthy, rich colors.