Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Three Color Trilogy” is truly a masterpiece. The colors represent the French flag and are themed for the three political ideals in the motto of the French Republic: liberty, equality and fraternity. In each film the colors permeate from beginning to end. Each is unique and stirs your senses and satisfies with depth and originality.
Blue begins with a traumatic event, which sends the heroine Julie (Juliette Binoche) through a series of stages, from shock, anger, despair, withdrawal and finally to a working through of sorts. There is a secret that has been kept from Julie and one that she has been complicit in keeping from the world that rise to the surface when tragedy hits, forcing her to deal with them. She is fighting through her circumstances, seeking liberty in her life, from a more honest place.
White is an odd little tale of dark humor, which will leave you amused and surprised by the final scene. At the film’s center is an odd little man, Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) who in the beginning of the film is losing his beautiful young wife, Dominique (Julie Delpy) because of his inability to consummate the union. His wife is cruel, and unfeeling in the extreme, sickened by his failure to satisfy her in any way. Karol is a failure in every way possible and after he hits rock bottom, he slowly begins to build back his life, with the overriding driving desire to get revenge on his ex-wife. He seeks to be her equal personally and professionally and ultimately to even the score.
Red is by far my favorite, not merely for the story but also for the visual aspects of the film. This one features Valentine (Irene Jacob), a young successful model, who meets an old retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) when she accidentally hits his dog with her car. There is a secondary story, taking place lightly in the background that mirrors the old judges past as well. Valentine is driven to the judge, while at the same time repelled by his behavior (he spies on the neighbors conversations). They strike up an unlikely bond (fraternity) as they help each other find their way back to solid ground in their lives. It’s the most visually stunning of the three, although you could make a good case for Blue as well. These films all make reference to the ones prior and following, with small overlapping cameos from the players in each.
If you haven’t had a chance to view these films, I highly encourage you to rent them and I’m sure you will see what I mean when I say they are original, thought provoking and masterpieces separately and collectively.
Images from Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “Three Color Trilogy; Bleu/Blanc/Rouge” for the colors of the French flag.
“Blue” ©1993 ~ Juliette Binoche
“White” ©1994 ~ Julie Delpy
“Red” ©1994 ~ Irene Jacob