Here is the satirical meme about Mexico cities in movies:

enter image description here

Movies like Traffic (2000), the plot took place in Mexico cities, also used brown tint a lot.

Why do movie directors use brown tint in Mexico cities?

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    It seems cherry picking... you have one movie example and an image that doesn't even come from the said movie. – Silver Bebs Jun 27 '19 at 13:39
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    @SilverBebs, not a movie, but Breaking Bad definitely has this. Robert Rodriguez movies has that too. – user28434 Jun 28 '19 at 11:47
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    To other commenters: if it attempts to answer the question, it should be posted as an answer. (That's what they're for!) Comments are for suggesting improvements to the question or for asking necessary clarifying questions, not for posting unsupported answers. – V2Blast Jun 28 '19 at 23:29
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    @V2Blast sometimes one feels they don't have enough to make a solid answer, but feel it's worth mentioning a possibility of a potential answer. This can help both the OP better clarify their Q by having a brief conversation AND sometimes it does lead others to use the information to form a better answer. – Darth Locke Jul 1 '19 at 16:01

From the trivia page on imdb for Traffic:

To achieve a distinctive look for each different vignette in the story, Steven Soderbergh used three different film stocks (and post-production techniques), each with their own color treatment and grain for the print. The "Wakefield" story features a colder, bluer tone to match the sad, depressive emotion. The "Ayala" story is bright, shiny, and saturated in primary colors, especially red, to match the glitzy surface of Helena's life. The "Mexican" story appears grainy, rough, and hot to go with the rugged Mexican landscape and congested cities.

Film processing (or digital processing filters) is often used in films to convey mood/heat/other emotions. This is all that's in play here.

Mexico is often viewed as being hot and claustrophobic - the film treatment here (and in other films) uses this to enhance the mood of the film.


Soderbergh's rationale for differing colour temperatures and grain effects in different strands of the story of "Traffic" can easily to be applied to other directors and films. Directors can and do use film treatments, editing styles, and music in order to enhance the emotional impacts of scenes, characters, events, and entire films.

It's outside the scope of this answer to include exhaustive examples. However, the main point of this answer is that directors aren't likely to apply film treatements in order to convey a stereotypical perception of any particular location, although this may occasionally be the case.

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    This answer only really explains Traffic, the question is asking about Hollywood in general. – user Jun 28 '19 at 10:22
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    I don't think that it takes a huge leap of imagination to assume that other directors also use similar techniques and reasons when applying treatments to films. – user43022 Jun 28 '19 at 10:32
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    @user While the OP makes the claim that this is "always" being done, they only provide the example of Traffic. This answer directly addresses the reasons for this choice in that film. – Grimm The Opiner Jun 28 '19 at 11:00
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    @GrimmTheOpiner no need for pedantry. In this context, "always" means "common", not 'universal operator' in set theory. And yes it is common. See for instance the mariachi trilogy youtube.com/watch?v=4D7ogIMnRq4 most outdoors scenes have very warm, often extreme pallettes. Compare to indoors / club nightscenes in the same trailer. – Tasos Papastylianou Jun 28 '19 at 13:17
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    In Breaking Bad's case, they were showing that the segment was a flashback, simulating the yellowing of old photos and film. Still doesn't explain Mexico. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 28 '19 at 17:58

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