Blue


1h 38m 1993
Blue

Brief Synopsis

A woman struggles to find a way to live her life after the death of her husband and child.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bleu, Film Bleu, Frihet - den blå filmen, Three Colors: Blue, Trois couleurs: Bleu
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Foreign
Release Date
1993
Production Company
Channel 4; Channel Four Television; Eurimages; Film4 Productions; France 3 Cinéma; Miramax International; StudioCanal
Distribution Company
MIRAMAX; Alternative Films; Camera Film; Curzon Artificial Eye; Finnkino Oy; Kuzui Enterprises; MIRAMAX; Panasia; Rialto Films; Triangelfilm; Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Location
Poland; France; Switzerland

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m

Synopsis

After a beautiful young woman's daughter and renowned composer-husband are killed in a car crash, she tries to cope with her losses by cutting off all ties to the past. Meanwhile, the music world searches for her late husband's unfinished symphony and a music critic suspects that the wife is the work's true author.

Crew

Lionel Acat

Design Apprentice

Christian Aubenque

Other

Francois Azria

2nd Assistant Director

Julie Bertuccelli

2nd Assistant Director

Claire Bez

Assistant Editor

Ernst Brunner

Electrician

Olivier Bulteau

Apprentice Production Supervisor

Margot Capelier

Casting

Michel Charvaz

Props

Aline Corneille

Other

Muriel Coulin

2nd Assistant Camera

Yvon Crenn

Production Manager

Michele D'attoma

Apprentice Editor

Jean-pierre Delettre

Construction Manager

Alain Dondin

Electrician

Alain Dreze

Other

Alain Dubouloz

Generator Operator

Genevieve Dufour

Script Supervisor

Emmanuel Finkiel

1st Assistant Director

William Flageollet

Sound Rerecording Mixer

Anne Guillemard

Associate Production Supervisor

Agnieszka Holland

Screenwriter

Slawomir Idziak

Dp/Cinematographer

Slawomir Idziak

Director Of Photography

Piotr Jaxa

Stills Photographer

Henryk Jedynak

1st Assistant Camera

Marin Karmitz

Producer

Krzysztof Kieslowski

Screenwriter

Naima Lagrange

Costume Maker

Caroline Lassa

Production Supervisor

Stanislaw Latek

Personal Assistant (To Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Jean-claude Laureux

Sound Recordist

Claude Lenoir

Production Designer

Ursula Lesiak

Assistant Editor

Urszula Lesiak

Assistant Editor

Stephane Libiot

Apprentice Director

Hans Meier

Gaffer

Nelly Niay

Other

Krzysztof Piesiewicz

Screenwriter

Julien Poitou-weber

Design Apprentice

Zbigniew Preisner

Music

Marie-claire Quin

Other

Roman Renn

Other

Eva Simonet

Publicist

Brigitte Taillandier

Sound Department

Valerie Tranier

Makeup Artist

Albert Vasseur

Other

Virginie Viard

Costume Designer

Jacques Witta

Editor

Film Details

Also Known As
Bleu, Film Bleu, Frihet - den blå filmen, Three Colors: Blue, Trois couleurs: Bleu
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Foreign
Release Date
1993
Production Company
Channel 4; Channel Four Television; Eurimages; Film4 Productions; France 3 Cinéma; Miramax International; StudioCanal
Distribution Company
MIRAMAX; Alternative Films; Camera Film; Curzon Artificial Eye; Finnkino Oy; Kuzui Enterprises; MIRAMAX; Panasia; Rialto Films; Triangelfilm; Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Location
Poland; France; Switzerland

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m

Articles

Blue


Three Colors: Blue (1993) is the first film in Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy, made over a period of nine months in France, Poland and Switzerland with primarily French financing. Much has been written about the films being named after the colors of the French flag--blue, white, and red--which represent the founding principles of the French nation: liberty, equality, fraternity. Kieslowski himself dismissed that, joking that if the financing had come from Germany, the trilogy would have been titled black, red, and gold. In fact, each film does deal, however loosely, with one of the principles.

In Blue, Julie (Juliette Binoche) loses her husband and child in a car accident and spends the rest of the film trying to free herself from the pain of her loss by leaving her old life behind and moving from an expansive country home to a small apartment in Paris. Her husband Patrice was a prominent composer who had been chosen to create a concerto celebrating the unification of Europe. (The film was made a year after the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union, an economic and political coalition of European nations.) The concerto in the film was supposedly written for that event, and meant to be played only once. Instead, it is played at Patrice's funeral, which Julie watches on television from her hospital bed. A reporter questions whether Julie is the true author of Patrice's music, even as Patrice's assistant Olivier struggles to finish the piece, and to deal with his own love for Julie. And Julie finds out that Patrice had secrets that add another layer to her loss.

Kieslowski's stylistic choices--some might call them tricks--force the viewer to notice, to pay attention to what's going on beneath the surface: the use of the color blue, whether it's an empty blue room in the country house, cleared out of any signs of lives lived within; the swimming pool where Julie tries to keep her sorrow at bay; or a blue crystal mobile, snatched at the last moment from her daughter's room and hung in the new apartment. Several times, the film fades to black on a scene, then immediately fades back into the same scene, emphasizing its importance. Other scenes are punctuated at key moments with sudden, dramatic passages from the unification concerto. More than the other two films in the trilogy, Blue is dependent on music, both as a plot point and for emphasis. Because the music was such an important element, composer Zbigniew Preisner (who created the music for all three films) wrote the score before shooting began on Blue, so the music could match the pace and tone of the film.

Blue was Binoche's first film with Kieslowski, and marked her return to art house fare, after a bid for mainstream international popularity with two 1992 films Wuthering Heights and Damage, both of which received mediocre reviews. She recalled the experience of making Blue as a joyful one, in spite of sadness of the story, and found Kieslowski collaborative, and receptive to her ideas. Blue premiered at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion as best film, and earned Binoche the best actress award. She also won the French Cesar award, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.

The film received mostly excellent reviews. Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle wrote, "Blue is a movie that engages the mind, challenges the senses, implores a resolution, and tells, with aesthetic grace and formal elegance, a good story and a political allegory." Desson Howe of the Washington Post singled out Binoche's performance: "Its greatest asset is Binoche at the center of it all. Dolorous, beautiful and almost wordless, her presence carries the film as much as Kieslowski's artful design. Without her, and without her story, 'Blue' is just another color." One of the few dissenters was The New York Times' Vincent Canby: "All of Mr. Kieslowski's considerable filmmaking talents can't bring this impossibly highfalutin' composition to recognizable life," he wrote. "The narrative is too precious and absurd. The interpretation it demands seems dilettantish."

In 1994, following the premiere of the third film in the trilogy, Red, at the Cannes Film Festival, Kieslowski announced that he was retiring. Two years later, he died at the age of 54. The music played during the funeral sequence in Blue was played at his funeral.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Producer: Marin Karmitz
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Cinematography: Slawomir Idziak
Editor: Jacques Witta
Production Design: Claude Lenoir
Music: Zbigniew Preisner
Principal Cast: Juliette Binoche (Julie de Courcy), Benoit Regent (Olivier Benoit), Emmanuelle Riva (Julie's mother), Florence Pernel (Sandrine), Guillaume de Tonquedec (Serge), Charlotte Very (Lucille), Helene Vincent (the Journalist)
94 minutes

by Margarita Landazuri
Blue

Blue

Three Colors: Blue (1993) is the first film in Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy, made over a period of nine months in France, Poland and Switzerland with primarily French financing. Much has been written about the films being named after the colors of the French flag--blue, white, and red--which represent the founding principles of the French nation: liberty, equality, fraternity. Kieslowski himself dismissed that, joking that if the financing had come from Germany, the trilogy would have been titled black, red, and gold. In fact, each film does deal, however loosely, with one of the principles. In Blue, Julie (Juliette Binoche) loses her husband and child in a car accident and spends the rest of the film trying to free herself from the pain of her loss by leaving her old life behind and moving from an expansive country home to a small apartment in Paris. Her husband Patrice was a prominent composer who had been chosen to create a concerto celebrating the unification of Europe. (The film was made a year after the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union, an economic and political coalition of European nations.) The concerto in the film was supposedly written for that event, and meant to be played only once. Instead, it is played at Patrice's funeral, which Julie watches on television from her hospital bed. A reporter questions whether Julie is the true author of Patrice's music, even as Patrice's assistant Olivier struggles to finish the piece, and to deal with his own love for Julie. And Julie finds out that Patrice had secrets that add another layer to her loss. Kieslowski's stylistic choices--some might call them tricks--force the viewer to notice, to pay attention to what's going on beneath the surface: the use of the color blue, whether it's an empty blue room in the country house, cleared out of any signs of lives lived within; the swimming pool where Julie tries to keep her sorrow at bay; or a blue crystal mobile, snatched at the last moment from her daughter's room and hung in the new apartment. Several times, the film fades to black on a scene, then immediately fades back into the same scene, emphasizing its importance. Other scenes are punctuated at key moments with sudden, dramatic passages from the unification concerto. More than the other two films in the trilogy, Blue is dependent on music, both as a plot point and for emphasis. Because the music was such an important element, composer Zbigniew Preisner (who created the music for all three films) wrote the score before shooting began on Blue, so the music could match the pace and tone of the film. Blue was Binoche's first film with Kieslowski, and marked her return to art house fare, after a bid for mainstream international popularity with two 1992 films Wuthering Heights and Damage, both of which received mediocre reviews. She recalled the experience of making Blue as a joyful one, in spite of sadness of the story, and found Kieslowski collaborative, and receptive to her ideas. Blue premiered at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion as best film, and earned Binoche the best actress award. She also won the French Cesar award, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. The film received mostly excellent reviews. Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle wrote, "Blue is a movie that engages the mind, challenges the senses, implores a resolution, and tells, with aesthetic grace and formal elegance, a good story and a political allegory." Desson Howe of the Washington Post singled out Binoche's performance: "Its greatest asset is Binoche at the center of it all. Dolorous, beautiful and almost wordless, her presence carries the film as much as Kieslowski's artful design. Without her, and without her story, 'Blue' is just another color." One of the few dissenters was The New York Times' Vincent Canby: "All of Mr. Kieslowski's considerable filmmaking talents can't bring this impossibly highfalutin' composition to recognizable life," he wrote. "The narrative is too precious and absurd. The interpretation it demands seems dilettantish." In 1994, following the premiere of the third film in the trilogy, Red, at the Cannes Film Festival, Kieslowski announced that he was retiring. Two years later, he died at the age of 54. The music played during the funeral sequence in Blue was played at his funeral. Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski Producer: Marin Karmitz Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz Cinematography: Slawomir Idziak Editor: Jacques Witta Production Design: Claude Lenoir Music: Zbigniew Preisner Principal Cast: Juliette Binoche (Julie de Courcy), Benoit Regent (Olivier Benoit), Emmanuelle Riva (Julie's mother), Florence Pernel (Sandrine), Guillaume de Tonquedec (Serge), Charlotte Very (Lucille), Helene Vincent (the Journalist) 94 minutes by Margarita Landazuri

Three Colors: Blue, White, Red - THREE COLORS: BLUE, WHITE, RED - Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dazzling Cinematic Trio


The three colors are blue, white and red. They are the colors of the French flag, of course, and they are appropriated by director Krzysztof Kieslowski along with the themes of the motto they more or less represent: liberty, equality, fraternity. But the films Blue (1993), Red (1993) and Red (1994) are not hymns to patriotism or national identity and the Polish Kieslowski hasn't any predisposition to making a statement at France. It's better to think of this trilogy in similar terms as his The Decalogue, ten short films in which he reflects upon the Ten Commandments in terms more suggestive than literal. They are about morality in terms of life in Poland in 1989 and it is that vast collage of life experience in that time and place that is so powerful.

After Kieslowski completed The Decalogue, the Berlin Wall fell, Perestroika was introduced in the Soviet Union and communism collapsed in Eastern Europe. The Three Colors trilogy may begin in France but reaches beyond national borders to Poland and Switzerland to become in part a portrait of the new Europe. And, I would say, a rumination on the mysteries behind the faces of his beautiful leading ladies: Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy and Irene Jacob.

Binoche stars in Blue as Julie Vignon, the sole survivor of a car wreck that kills her husband, a revered composer, and their young daughter. Initially bereft to the point of suicide, she's unable to swallow the pills. It's more a matter of gag reflex than second thoughts but she embraces the reflex as a way to deal with her grief: she simply rejects all emotional connection to her past and her present life, dropping out of contact with everyone she knew and systematically destroying all extant traces of her husband's unfinished composition, which we learn she was intimately and creatively involved with. (The title of the composition, "Concerto for the Unification of Europe," suggests the scope of Kieslowski's trilogy while commenting on Julie's aggressive isolation.)

As one might assume from the title, the color blue dominates the palette, from the light over the city at dusk to the glow from the swimming pool she visits to, quite literally, exorcize/exercise the demons of her memory. The saturated hues are calming, protective, but also isolating; the rest of the world fades away when she's enveloped in the blue of the water. Yet the world keeps coming back to her and Kieslowski punctuates every assault on the emotional armor with startling orchestral stings and a brief fade to black, as if the scene has jolted her out of the present and into the blackness of loss she has refused to confront. The technique recalls Godard but Kieslowski orchestrates the elements with a grace that is his alone. Where Godard deconstructs and breaks our engagement with the film, Kieslowski pulls us in and layers the effects: the music she has been trying to destroy returns with a vengeance, as if fighting her efforts to suppress it. Ultimately it becomes the story of her reawakening to world, but this time on her terms.

White opens in Paris on a sad clown of a gentle Polish immigrant, Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), reporting to divorce court where his French wife (Julie Delpy) sues for divorce because he has failed to consummate the marriage (not for lack of desire, merely a bad, extended case of impotence). With his twinkling blue eyes and smile of a child, Zamachowski carries himself with the bounce and determined optimism of a silent movie clown in a mercenary modern world, where he's reduced to a penniless, homeless, hapless drifter between countries until a generous countryman helps smuggle him back home. When Karol finally sets foot back on Polish soil, after escaping from thieves and tumbling down the side of a garbage dump, he gazes across the garbage-strewn landscape with the sigh: "Home at last." There's no love of Poland in this portrait, where the new capitalism has only made it into a country of opportunists. . "These days you can buy anything," Karol muses as he remakes himself, first as a bodyguard to a black marketer and then as a cunning businessman in the new Poland. First he buys a gun and then he buys an elaborate revenge against the wife who so cruelly kicked him to the curb (and she is cruel, mind you, driven by some fury that remains unexplained and almost unfathomable).

Yet this is the comedy of the trilogy, not so much a black comedy as a wicked satire in the cold white light of Polish winter, which (as you would expect) informs the color palette of this film. It's visually starker than the other, more saturated films, bereft of bright color, but while Kieslowski shows us a cold world of commerce and power, he also offers us a friendship of great devotion and, in a vodka-fueled lark across a frozen park, the only moments of pure, childlike joy in the entire trilogy. And against all expectations, Kieslowski presents a final act of revenge that is at once unforgiving and steeped in love. If White is indeed about equality, then this vengeance is about balancing the scales and rekindling a broken relationship by the most drastic measures. That the final image is suffused in emotional reunion (at the expense of physical disconnection), forgiveness and pure, unconditional love is testament to the artistry and humanism of Kieslowski.

All three films open on industrial rumble and physical mechanisms of modern life: the speeding tire of an automobile in the highway in Blue that will, moments later, shatter Julie's life, and the conveyor belt of an airport luggage belt carrying a suitcase that, we will soon learn, carries strange cargo in White. Red begins by hurtling along telephone lines and international cables, under the English Channel and through subterranean tunnels, only to end on a busy signal on other end of the line. More than a motif, this introduction frames and defines Red, a film that revolves around relationships strained by physical dislocation and relationships that become almost abstracted through increasingly disconnected telephone conversations.

Irene Jacob stars as Valentine, a student and professional model in Geneva, Switzerland, whose boyfriend is constantly traveling (and usually suspicious and unpleasantly jealous whenever he calls) and Jean-Louis Trintignant is Joseph Kern, a bitter retired judge who spends his days eavesdropping on his neighbors' phone calls. After spending a life in the impossible pursuit of finding truth within the constraints of the courtroom, he now investigates his neighbors for no reason other than to learn the "truth," as if to prove that such a thing exists. Or maybe it's merely a test of justice. It's like he's waiting for someone to catch him and report him, and the longer he remains at large to continue, the more disillusioned be becomes. Their initial meeting is initiated by injury (Valentine accidentally hits his dog in the road) and fraught with conflict and judgment, yet they somehow become friends and confidantes. He imparts a little wisdom to her, and she rouses his dashed ideals, while the intensity of the rich red color scheme brings a vibrancy to the scenes: it's the color of love, anger, passion, heat, and it warms this into becoming the most forgiving film in the series.

"I have said all I need to say on film," remarked Kieslowski after completing the trilogy. "Red is my summation." It is certainly the most densely and deftly woven of the three films. The story of a young judge (Jean-Pierre Lorit) who lives in Valentine's neighborhood and dates a neighbor of the old judge plays out in the margins of the film: their paths circle and wind around without meeting throughout the film, his romantic drama echoes Valentine's and his life's journey recalls that related to Valentine by Joseph. The old judge increasingly becomes Kieslowski's stand-in. He observes and judges, but also defends and excuses, all the while constantly questioning his actions and his ability to find the truth. And while he never aggressively interferes in the lives he listens in on, he is something of a conductor, nudging events along with a remark or a suggestion.

There are few direct narrative connections between the three films. Apart from the coda of Red, which brings all three films together into the same climactic event, they limited are brief crossings (Binoche stumbles into the courtroom of White in a tiny moment that pulls the two films into the same universe) and references that echo across the films. But ideas and images and the texture of Kieslowski's filmmaking and elliptical storytelling reverberate through the trilogy, the most prominent being an old stooped person who shuffles up to a recycling bin and reaches up to deposit a bottle. Only in Red does our heroine step in to help, and that act of kindness is like a fulfillment, a test of human compassion finally met that brings the cycle to its fruition.

All three films were released on DVD by Miramax in 2003 with a wealth of supplements. Many of those are included in this set, including select scene commentary by Juliette Binoche, video interviews with producer Martin Karmitz and editor Jacque Witta and three "Krzysztof Kieslowski's Cinema Lesson" programs, excerpts from a 1994 French TV program featuring Kieslowski describing, dissecting, and ruminating on a scene from each of the three films. The "Reflections on Blue" and "A Discussion on Kieslowski: The Early Years" are interview programs with film critics Geoff Andrew and Annette Insdorf, actresses Juliette Binoche and Irene Jacob, filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, cinematographer Slawomir Idziak and editor Jacques Witta, and there are short documentaries on the making of White and Red and the world premiere of Red at Cannes 1994.

New to the set are interviews with composer Zbigniew Preisner; writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz, and actors Julie Delpy, Zbigniew Zamachowski, and Irène Jacob conducted in 2011 for exclusively for this edition, and superb video essays on each film by film studies professor Annette Insdorf (on Blue) and film critics Tony Rayns (White) and Dennis Lim (Red).

Archival offerings include the 1995 feature-length documentary Krzysztof Kieslowski: I'm So-So from Krzysztof Wierzbicki, two early Kieslowski student shorts, The Tram and The Face (both from 1966), and two short documentaries by Kieslowski, Seven Women of Different Ages (1978) and Talking Heads (1980). And of course there is a substantial booklet with essays on the films by critics Colin MacCabe, Nick James, Stuart Klawans, and Georgina Evans, an excerpt from the interview book "Kieslowski on Kieslowski," and reprinted interviews with cinematographers Slawomir Idziak, Edward Klosinski, and Piotr Sobocinski.

For more information about Three Colors: Blue, White, Red, visit The Criterion Collection. To order Three Colors: Blue, White, Red, go to TCM Shopping.

by Sean Axmaker

Three Colors: Blue, White, Red - THREE COLORS: BLUE, WHITE, RED - Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dazzling Cinematic Trio

The three colors are blue, white and red. They are the colors of the French flag, of course, and they are appropriated by director Krzysztof Kieslowski along with the themes of the motto they more or less represent: liberty, equality, fraternity. But the films Blue (1993), Red (1993) and Red (1994) are not hymns to patriotism or national identity and the Polish Kieslowski hasn't any predisposition to making a statement at France. It's better to think of this trilogy in similar terms as his The Decalogue, ten short films in which he reflects upon the Ten Commandments in terms more suggestive than literal. They are about morality in terms of life in Poland in 1989 and it is that vast collage of life experience in that time and place that is so powerful. After Kieslowski completed The Decalogue, the Berlin Wall fell, Perestroika was introduced in the Soviet Union and communism collapsed in Eastern Europe. The Three Colors trilogy may begin in France but reaches beyond national borders to Poland and Switzerland to become in part a portrait of the new Europe. And, I would say, a rumination on the mysteries behind the faces of his beautiful leading ladies: Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy and Irene Jacob. Binoche stars in Blue as Julie Vignon, the sole survivor of a car wreck that kills her husband, a revered composer, and their young daughter. Initially bereft to the point of suicide, she's unable to swallow the pills. It's more a matter of gag reflex than second thoughts but she embraces the reflex as a way to deal with her grief: she simply rejects all emotional connection to her past and her present life, dropping out of contact with everyone she knew and systematically destroying all extant traces of her husband's unfinished composition, which we learn she was intimately and creatively involved with. (The title of the composition, "Concerto for the Unification of Europe," suggests the scope of Kieslowski's trilogy while commenting on Julie's aggressive isolation.) As one might assume from the title, the color blue dominates the palette, from the light over the city at dusk to the glow from the swimming pool she visits to, quite literally, exorcize/exercise the demons of her memory. The saturated hues are calming, protective, but also isolating; the rest of the world fades away when she's enveloped in the blue of the water. Yet the world keeps coming back to her and Kieslowski punctuates every assault on the emotional armor with startling orchestral stings and a brief fade to black, as if the scene has jolted her out of the present and into the blackness of loss she has refused to confront. The technique recalls Godard but Kieslowski orchestrates the elements with a grace that is his alone. Where Godard deconstructs and breaks our engagement with the film, Kieslowski pulls us in and layers the effects: the music she has been trying to destroy returns with a vengeance, as if fighting her efforts to suppress it. Ultimately it becomes the story of her reawakening to world, but this time on her terms. White opens in Paris on a sad clown of a gentle Polish immigrant, Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), reporting to divorce court where his French wife (Julie Delpy) sues for divorce because he has failed to consummate the marriage (not for lack of desire, merely a bad, extended case of impotence). With his twinkling blue eyes and smile of a child, Zamachowski carries himself with the bounce and determined optimism of a silent movie clown in a mercenary modern world, where he's reduced to a penniless, homeless, hapless drifter between countries until a generous countryman helps smuggle him back home. When Karol finally sets foot back on Polish soil, after escaping from thieves and tumbling down the side of a garbage dump, he gazes across the garbage-strewn landscape with the sigh: "Home at last." There's no love of Poland in this portrait, where the new capitalism has only made it into a country of opportunists. . "These days you can buy anything," Karol muses as he remakes himself, first as a bodyguard to a black marketer and then as a cunning businessman in the new Poland. First he buys a gun and then he buys an elaborate revenge against the wife who so cruelly kicked him to the curb (and she is cruel, mind you, driven by some fury that remains unexplained and almost unfathomable). Yet this is the comedy of the trilogy, not so much a black comedy as a wicked satire in the cold white light of Polish winter, which (as you would expect) informs the color palette of this film. It's visually starker than the other, more saturated films, bereft of bright color, but while Kieslowski shows us a cold world of commerce and power, he also offers us a friendship of great devotion and, in a vodka-fueled lark across a frozen park, the only moments of pure, childlike joy in the entire trilogy. And against all expectations, Kieslowski presents a final act of revenge that is at once unforgiving and steeped in love. If White is indeed about equality, then this vengeance is about balancing the scales and rekindling a broken relationship by the most drastic measures. That the final image is suffused in emotional reunion (at the expense of physical disconnection), forgiveness and pure, unconditional love is testament to the artistry and humanism of Kieslowski. All three films open on industrial rumble and physical mechanisms of modern life: the speeding tire of an automobile in the highway in Blue that will, moments later, shatter Julie's life, and the conveyor belt of an airport luggage belt carrying a suitcase that, we will soon learn, carries strange cargo in White. Red begins by hurtling along telephone lines and international cables, under the English Channel and through subterranean tunnels, only to end on a busy signal on other end of the line. More than a motif, this introduction frames and defines Red, a film that revolves around relationships strained by physical dislocation and relationships that become almost abstracted through increasingly disconnected telephone conversations. Irene Jacob stars as Valentine, a student and professional model in Geneva, Switzerland, whose boyfriend is constantly traveling (and usually suspicious and unpleasantly jealous whenever he calls) and Jean-Louis Trintignant is Joseph Kern, a bitter retired judge who spends his days eavesdropping on his neighbors' phone calls. After spending a life in the impossible pursuit of finding truth within the constraints of the courtroom, he now investigates his neighbors for no reason other than to learn the "truth," as if to prove that such a thing exists. Or maybe it's merely a test of justice. It's like he's waiting for someone to catch him and report him, and the longer he remains at large to continue, the more disillusioned be becomes. Their initial meeting is initiated by injury (Valentine accidentally hits his dog in the road) and fraught with conflict and judgment, yet they somehow become friends and confidantes. He imparts a little wisdom to her, and she rouses his dashed ideals, while the intensity of the rich red color scheme brings a vibrancy to the scenes: it's the color of love, anger, passion, heat, and it warms this into becoming the most forgiving film in the series. "I have said all I need to say on film," remarked Kieslowski after completing the trilogy. "Red is my summation." It is certainly the most densely and deftly woven of the three films. The story of a young judge (Jean-Pierre Lorit) who lives in Valentine's neighborhood and dates a neighbor of the old judge plays out in the margins of the film: their paths circle and wind around without meeting throughout the film, his romantic drama echoes Valentine's and his life's journey recalls that related to Valentine by Joseph. The old judge increasingly becomes Kieslowski's stand-in. He observes and judges, but also defends and excuses, all the while constantly questioning his actions and his ability to find the truth. And while he never aggressively interferes in the lives he listens in on, he is something of a conductor, nudging events along with a remark or a suggestion. There are few direct narrative connections between the three films. Apart from the coda of Red, which brings all three films together into the same climactic event, they limited are brief crossings (Binoche stumbles into the courtroom of White in a tiny moment that pulls the two films into the same universe) and references that echo across the films. But ideas and images and the texture of Kieslowski's filmmaking and elliptical storytelling reverberate through the trilogy, the most prominent being an old stooped person who shuffles up to a recycling bin and reaches up to deposit a bottle. Only in Red does our heroine step in to help, and that act of kindness is like a fulfillment, a test of human compassion finally met that brings the cycle to its fruition. All three films were released on DVD by Miramax in 2003 with a wealth of supplements. Many of those are included in this set, including select scene commentary by Juliette Binoche, video interviews with producer Martin Karmitz and editor Jacque Witta and three "Krzysztof Kieslowski's Cinema Lesson" programs, excerpts from a 1994 French TV program featuring Kieslowski describing, dissecting, and ruminating on a scene from each of the three films. The "Reflections on Blue" and "A Discussion on Kieslowski: The Early Years" are interview programs with film critics Geoff Andrew and Annette Insdorf, actresses Juliette Binoche and Irene Jacob, filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, cinematographer Slawomir Idziak and editor Jacques Witta, and there are short documentaries on the making of White and Red and the world premiere of Red at Cannes 1994. New to the set are interviews with composer Zbigniew Preisner; writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz, and actors Julie Delpy, Zbigniew Zamachowski, and Irène Jacob conducted in 2011 for exclusively for this edition, and superb video essays on each film by film studies professor Annette Insdorf (on Blue) and film critics Tony Rayns (White) and Dennis Lim (Red). Archival offerings include the 1995 feature-length documentary Krzysztof Kieslowski: I'm So-So from Krzysztof Wierzbicki, two early Kieslowski student shorts, The Tram and The Face (both from 1966), and two short documentaries by Kieslowski, Seven Women of Different Ages (1978) and Talking Heads (1980). And of course there is a substantial booklet with essays on the films by critics Colin MacCabe, Nick James, Stuart Klawans, and Georgina Evans, an excerpt from the interview book "Kieslowski on Kieslowski," and reprinted interviews with cinematographers Slawomir Idziak, Edward Klosinski, and Piotr Sobocinski. For more information about Three Colors: Blue, White, Red, visit The Criterion Collection. To order Three Colors: Blue, White, Red, go to TCM Shopping. by Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Citing that its language, French, was not the language of its submitting country, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disqualified "Blue" from being Poland's official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (1993).

Began shooting September 7, 1992.

Completed shooting October 1992.

Released in United States Winter December 5, 1993

Released in United States December 8, 1993 (Los Angeles)

Expanded Release in United States January 7, 1994

Re-released in United States January 13, 1995 (New York City and Los Angeles)

Re-released in United States April 5, 1996 (AMC Cecchi Gori Fine Arts; Los Angeles)

Released in United States on Video August 24, 1994

Released in United States 1993 (Shown at Venice Film Festival (in competition) August 31 - September 11, 1993.)

Released in United States September 1993 (Shown at Boston Film Festival September 13-23, 1993.)

Released in United States September 1993 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival September 3-6, 1993.)

Released in United States September 1993 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals (Special Presentation) September 9-18, 1993.)

Released in United States October 1993 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival October 1-17, 1993.)

Released in United States October 1993 (Shown at New York Film Festival October 1-17, 1993.)

Released in United States 1994 (Shown at Wellington Film Festival in New Zealand July 22 - August 5, 1994.)

Released in United States 1994 (Shown at Hong Kong International Film Festival (opening night) March 25 - April 9, 1994.)

Released in United States October 1994 (Shown at Mill Valley Film Festival October 6-16, 1994.)

Released in United States January 1995 (Shown at International Film Festival of India (Filmotsav) in Bombay January 10-20, 1995.)

Released in United States March 12, 1996 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade Theater) March 12, 1996.)

Released in United States September 1996 (Shown in New York City (Anthology Film Archives) as part of program "Best of the Indies" September 5-15, 1996.)

Released in United States February 1999 (Shown in Los Angeles (American Cinematheque) as part of series "Belles du Jour: French Actresses - the New Generation" February 12-25, 1999.)

Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy was nominated for the 1994 Felix Award for European Film of the Year.

Co-winner, along with Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" (USA/93), of the Golden Lion award for best picture at the 1993 Venice Film Festival. Juliette Binoche also received the Volpi Cup for best actress.

Zbigniew Preisner received the best score award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for his work on "Blue" (France/Poland/1993), "The Secret Garden" (USA/1993) and "Olivier, Olivier" (France/1992).

Nominated for nine Cesar Awards, including best picture. Winner of three, including best actress (Juliette Binoche), best editing and best sound.

Released in United States Winter December 5, 1993

Released in United States December 8, 1993

Expanded Release in United States January 7, 1994

Re-released in United States January 13, 1995

Re-released in United States April 5, 1996

Released in United States on Video August 24, 1994

Released in United States 1993

Released in United States September 1993

Released in United States October 1993

Released in United States 1994

Released in United States September 1994

Released in United States October 1994

Released in United States January 1995

Released in United States March 12, 1996

Released in United States September 1996

Released in United States February 1999

Shown at Venice Film Festival (in competition) August 31 - September 11, 1993.

Shown at Boston Film Festival September 13-23, 1993.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals (Special Presentation) September 9-18, 1993.

Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival October 1-17, 1993.

Shown at New York Film Festival October 1-17, 1993.

Shown at Wellington Film Festival in New Zealand July 22 - August 5, 1994.

Shown at Hong Kong International Film Festival (opening night) March 25 - April 9, 1994.

Shown at San Sebastian International Film Festival (Open Zone) September 15-24, 1994.

Shown at Mill Valley Film Festival October 6-16, 1994.

Shown at International Film Festival of India (Filmotsav) in Bombay January 10-20, 1995.

The first installment in Krzysztof Kieslowski's trilogy based on the ideals embodied by the Tricolore: liberty, equality, and fraternity. The second installment is "White" (France/Poland/Switzerland/1994), starring Julie Delpy; the third is "Red" (France/Poland/Switzerland/1994), starring Irene Jacob.

Released in United States September 1994 (Shown at San Sebastian International Film Festival (Open Zone) September 15-24, 1994.)

The Country of France