Three Colours: Blue

Krzysztof Kieslowski | France | 1993 | 98 minutes

Kieslowski's Trois Couleurs: Bleu which shared the Golden Lion with Short Cuts at the 1993 Venice Fim Festival, is a meditation on the notion of individual freedom. After losing her husband Patrice and their daughter in a car crash, Julie (Juliette Binoche) moves into an anonymous Parisian apartment and begins to rebuild her life, disengaging herself from all her and her husband's friends and associates. But she is unable to ignore her memory.

Binoche is the best actress in France at the moment able to convey more in her mournful almost expressionless stare than anything Béart and Dalle could manage. This film belongs to her as the Best Actress award at Venice demonstrated, and Kieslowski comes close to worshipping her, though his command of film-making helps prevent this film becoming a pretentious, sluggish, French vehicle. Kieslowski gives the film a decidely East-European texture, with the first huge close up of Binoche's liquid brown eyes in which is reflected the image of a doctor, the con-stant play of light across her face, and the number of objects which Julie's gaze seizes open (all of them blue); there is an eerie quality to the opening sequence with the mist-filled fields, and the Paris streets appear otherworldly and Daedalian. Not that this film is purely visual; though there are many coincidences in the plotting, the common theme is the music which Patrice was composing at the time of his death, snatches of which are heard in the epiphanies Julie experiences and are played out over a blank screen.

The ambiguity of who actually composed Patrice's music is never satisfactorily resolved, even though it is given a peculiar significance. Nevertheless, it is the commanding central performance that keeps this film's idiosyncracies at bay. Kieslowski says that his trilogy uses the themes of liberté, egalité and fraternité as a veil to conceal the true meaning behind the film, just as the Dekalog series used the Ten Commandments. If Blue is about something other than freedom then I have missed it

Review by Stephen Cox
Taken from EUFS Programme 1994-95