dissecting the blue, white, and red

anyone paying careful attention to my silly netflix rental history may have noticed there were two films i recently watched but hadn't mentioned: the first two films in krzysztof kieslowski's trois couleurs (three colors) trilogy. i finally got around to watching rouge (red), the final film. the first is bleu (blue), and the middle film is blanc (white).

all three are quite amazing films, and i'd say they get progressively better. the cinematography in red is incredible. (and then there's the story, and the acting, and the sound design, and ….)

the colors refer to the colors of the french flag, and each film takes its thematic cue from what that color represents: liberty (blue), equality (white), and fraternity (red). each story stands on its own, although there are a few common touchpoints (particularly at the end of red).

i definitely have to watch all three films again (and likely buy them), and can't wait to see kieslowski's dekalog (the decalogue): ten one-hour films based on the ten commandments. (which is being reissued on dvd in a couple of weeks.)


Yes, quite amazing indeed!

The decalogue isn't as immediately pleasing, but it's still highly recommended.

At the movie theater I worked at while in school (10 years ago! ouch), we had a "kieslowski festival" once. It was great. I wish they'd release Blind Chance on DVD. Sliding Doors is as close to an easy hollywood remake of that movie as it gets. :-)

- ask

» Ask Bjoern Hansen (link) » august 5, 2003 4:52pm

Absolutely brilliant films. Each unique to it's own story. Each about the human condition, the universal lonliness that infects us all. Blue, the first film, gets you hooked with the profound sadness that runs through the film. White brings almost a surprisingly comedic element to the genre yet stays true to the story of profound lonliness and Red embraces chance and circumstances, each character sad and lonely, disillusioned by someone they love. It would be difficult to choose which film was best, because each was brilliant and shot so cleverly. I loved that some of the same characters showed up in each film, especially the shot of the old woman recycling her bottles. I wonder why I haven't read more about her character. The moment that she is introduced in each of the films is a pivitol moment for each of the character's development in each of the film. This is the moment where these characters were about to embark on a personal transformation to embrace internal courage and strength, to push forth. We watch the characters watch this woman. Her tenacity to get the bottles in the bin, such a simple moment on film, but one has to wonder why this simple nothingness and random scene is in each film. The importance of this symbol, the old woman's quest to recycle her bottles, her struggle to reach the hole, on her frail tiptoes, barely reaching the hole, almost tumbling over, as we the audience watch her, and as the central characters in each of the films watch her, this is amazing. I believe it captures the frailties of the broken characters. They're each paralyzed by the image of the woman, frozen in awe of her struggle, because she epitomizes their frail and old souls. She's the reflection of who they are at that moment and the almost impossible task they much overcome to simply live. After the second film, I thought perhaps I might be reading too much into this character, however when she showed up alas in the third film, I knew indeed, this was deliberate and symbolic.

Red, stayed with me the longest after seeing it. I will have to rewatch it, because it left me with the most questions and most confused. Red seemed like it required more thinking from the audience. It kept us on our toes in order to follow the story. At times I wondered if I was watching a time warp, or if it was a memory being played out on the screen.

Of course each film was brilliantly shot to reflect the thematic color schemes, always a hue of blue in Blue, the winter scenes, snow and ice in White, cold like his ex-wife, and Red, the poster, the injured bleeding dog, the jeep...etc. all used as symbols of the central characters.

These films are enjoyable even if not analyzed and reviewed, but simply to watch. If one should sit down to these films, expecting nothing more than a good story, they will indeed get that, but the byproduct of that will be that it leaves an emotion with you that stays with you long after you finish watching the movie. There's such a strong universal sadness and yet moments of triumphe intertwined with the sadness, that one recognizes their own soul in these characters. Just as the characters do when seeing themselves in the old woman.

» bellamonroe » march 23, 2004 11:50am

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