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Three Colours: Blue

May 7, 2012

Three Colours: Blue (1993)
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Actors: Juliette Binoche, Benoit Regent, Florence Pernel

Synopsis: Julie (Juliette Binoche) loses her husband and young daughter in a horrendous car accident. After a period of intense mourning, Julie slowly begins to re-establish her life and finishes her husband’s incomplete concerto.

Review: Bathed in the melancholy and sadness of the colour blue came Krzystof Kieslowski’s most compelling and perfect of his three treatises on the themes of the French tricolore. Opening up with an exquisitely crafted sequence that presents us with the epochal car crash that will change protagonist Julie’s world, Kieslowski conjures a tone poem about the beauty (perverse as it may sound) of grief, and how Julie’s submission to the crystal-clear sorrow of her emotions leads her on a deeply moving process of liberation and – highly symbolic given the colour blue – of rebirth. Kieslowski makes the conceptual in his remit of a film on the theme of liberty and the colour blue seem utterly organic with his beautiful direction, and the use of music is vitally important in being a literal way that Julie begins to re-engage with the world again (by finishing her husband’s incomplete concerto) but also in filling the diegesis with these sonic compositions as we move from the stillness and shock of the tragedy at the beginning to the triumph of Julie’s regeneration by the end.

Three Colours: Blue also has an emotional complexity in not making the deceased husband a cipher of perfect love, but a catalyst for Julie’s journey of discovery, as she not only unravels his musical legacy but honours his personal legacy too – making the immensely graceful gesture of ceding her old family house to her husband’s lover and, as yet, unborn child. What’s also great about the Kieslowski Three Colours trilogy is that he made the whole work a paean to femininity – and this is emblematised in the charismatic and graceful performances of Julie Delpy, Irène Jacob, and most mesmerisingly of all, Juliette Binoche here. (May 2012)

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