Take a look at the film Hero
in terms of color proper, all I can say is that for me, I react to colors which I have seen in my life. For example, if I have a lonely scene in a city, I will use some streetlight orange, which i feel is a very lonely color. But, it's contextual, you know. You establish "rules" in a film, and there is a saying if it happens once it's an accident, twice it's an inkling, and 3 times it's a choice (or style). So, lets take a movie and a character who is very energetic. Each time we see them being energetic there is a certain color in the frame which dominates--- doesn't matter what it is, it's just there each time. We have set up a stylistic choice associating that color with that "thing," so that later on we can play off of it. We can use it to signal to the audience something is about to happen, and then not let it happen (suddenly instead of being energetic the main person is now in a hospital bed dying, but the room is that color!) Works best if you play it off in editing, like a slow pan from that color'd wall, bringing in the sounds slowly, to a close up of a sad face or something, basically using the memories we have formed in the audience about the color to inform them on how to feel about the scene (e.g. sad, wanting to go back to being energetic) etc.
Now that's just one example from a hypothetical film. But I hope this illustrates that there is a great importance in the context of things within a film. Not just on how they relate to other things in the real world, and an audience, but also other elements of this film, of films of this same genre, of all films, and eventually of all cultural artifacts which exist.