White


1h 30m 1994
White

Brief Synopsis

A Polish hairdresser's marriage to a French model ends dismally in Paris. Upon returning to his native land, he rises to financial wealth after some shady dealings, arranges his own fake funeral, and lures his bride to Poland, where it turns out her monetary gain is much less than expected. Humiliat...

Film Details

Also Known As
Blanc, Den vita filmen, Film Blanc, Three Colors: White, Trois Couleurs: Blanc
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Foreign
Release Date
1994
Production Company
Channel 4; Channel Four Television; Eurimages; Film4 Productions; France 3 Cinéma; Miramax International; StudioCanal
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/MIRAMAX; Alliance Releasing; Alliance Releasing; Alternative Films; Camera Film; Concorde Filmverleih Gmbh; Curzon Artificial Eye; Disney/Buena Vista; Finnkino Oy; Kuzui Enterprises; MIRAMAX; Rialto Films; Wanda Visión S.A.
Location
Paris, France; Warsaw, Poland

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Synopsis

A Polish hairdresser's marriage to a French model ends dismally in Paris. Upon returning to his native land, he rises to financial wealth after some shady dealings, arranges his own fake funeral, and lures his bride to Poland, where it turns out her monetary gain is much less than expected. Humiliated as she once humiliated her husband, she returns to her native land. Meanwhile, the husband has bought a new identity in a capitalism-obsessed Poland where any such purchase is possible.

Crew

Lionel Acat

Set Dresser

Christian Aubenque

Set Dresser

Marc Antoine Beldent

Sound Effects

Teresa Violetta Buhl

Assistant Director

Teresa Violetta Buhl

Casting

Jean-pierre Caminade

Makeup/ Hair

Margot Capelier

Casting

Michel Charvaz

Set Dresser

Ryszard Chutkowski

Production Manager

Jadwiga Cichocka

Makeup/ Hair

Jan Cielecki

Other

Pascal Colomb

Sound Recordist

Yvon Crenn

Executive Producer

Magdalena Dipont

Set Decorator

Halina Dobrowolska

Art Direction

Eric Ferret

Sound Effects

Emmanuel Finkiel

Assistant Director

William Flageollet

Sound Rerecordist

Z Friedwald

Song ("To Ostatnia Niedziela")

Agnieszka Holland

Screenplay Consultant

Marin Karmitz

Funding; Producer

Krzysztof Kieslowski

Screenwriter

Edward Klosinski

Screenplay Consultant

Edward Klosinski

Dp/Cinematographer

Edward Klosinski

Director Of Photography

Tomasz Kowalski

Set Dresser

Jean-claude Laureux

Sound

Jean-claude Laureux

Sound Editor

Francine Lemaitre

Sound Editor

Claude Lenoir

Art Direction

Ursula Lesiak

Editor

Urszula Lesiak

Editor

Jerome Levy

Sound Effects

Dariusz Lipinski

Set Dresser

Jolanta Luczak

Costume

Pascal Maziere

Sound Effects

Rafal Paczkowski

Music Recordist

Zbigniew Paleta

Music Director

Mariusz Pedzialek

Other

Jerzy Petersburski

Song ("To Ostatnia Niedziela")

Krzysztof Piesiewicz

Screenwriter

Julien Poitou-weber

Set Dresser

Zbigniew Preisner

Music

Jolanta Pruszynska

Makeup/ Hair

Henryk Puchalski

Set Dresser

Elzbieta Radke

Costume

Brigitte Taillandier

Sound Recordist

Virginie Viard

Costume

Teresa Wardzala

Costume

Piotr Zawadzki

Sound Editor

Edward Zebrowski

Screenplay Consultant

Film Details

Also Known As
Blanc, Den vita filmen, Film Blanc, Three Colors: White, Trois Couleurs: Blanc
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Foreign
Release Date
1994
Production Company
Channel 4; Channel Four Television; Eurimages; Film4 Productions; France 3 Cinéma; Miramax International; StudioCanal
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/MIRAMAX; Alliance Releasing; Alliance Releasing; Alternative Films; Camera Film; Concorde Filmverleih Gmbh; Curzon Artificial Eye; Disney/Buena Vista; Finnkino Oy; Kuzui Enterprises; MIRAMAX; Rialto Films; Wanda Visión S.A.
Location
Paris, France; Warsaw, Poland

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Articles

White


Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy--shot successively in one nine-month burst of creativity--is his final work as a director. The titles of the three films reflect the colors of the French flag, and their themes are loosely based on the founding principles of the French republic: "liberte, egalite, fraternite" (liberty, equality, brotherhood). If the first film, Blue (1993), is the trilogy's tragedy (at least in the beginning), the second, White (1994) is its comedy, albeit a black comedy.

White's hapless protagonist (Zbigniew Zamachowski), a Polish hairdresser living in Paris, is whimsically named Karol Karol. Karol is the Polish name for Charles, and Kieslowski admitted that the character was inspired by Chaplin's Little Tramp. White begins with a shot of a large suitcase on an airport luggage carousel, then moves to a Parisian courtroom, where Karol's French wife Dominique (Julie Delpy) is divorcing him because he is unable to perform sexually. Homeless, broke, rejected and scorned by his ex-wife, Karol ends up playing a comb kazoo in the Metro, begging for coins. There, he meets a fellow Pole who agrees to help smuggle him back to Poland in that oversize suitcase. All does not go as planned, however, and one of the funniest moments in the film comes when Karol finds himself beaten and bloody, dumped in a snowy, desolate Polish field. Looking around, he happily exclaims, "Home at last!"

Poland had traded communism for democracy in 1989, and by the early 1990s was transitioning to a western-style economy, where anything is available for a price. Karol sees opportunities everywhere, and shrewdly takes advantage of them. Before long, he too has transitioned, from a Chaplinesque sad sack to a savvy businessman in a cashmere coat with slicked-back hair. But he's still longing for the ex-wife who rejected him, and now that he's achieved "egalite," proving himself her equal and more, he's determined to win her back, and to get revenge.

French actress Julie Delpy had auditioned for Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique (1991), but even though she was wrong for that part, he remembered her when he was casting White. "He was very controlling," she later recalled, without rancor. "He was always sitting right under the camera, watching, smoking. That nice diffused lighting was smoke!" She found this way of working especially disconcerting when shooting a sex scene. Kieslowski sat under the camera inches away from her, timing her moans with his watch. When he wanted her to escalate the moans, he would gesture frantically.

Delpy also revealed that after the film wrapped, Kieslowski called her back to shoot a new ending. During editing, he had realized that the film needed closure between Karol and Dominique. "Kieslowski wanted to give my character a little more warmth, he wanted to give her a chance to say something." He also wanted to add "a glimpse of hope," she said.

White premiered at Berlin Film Festival in February of 1994, where it won the Silver Bear for directing. Variety critic Lisa Nesselson called it "involving, bittersweet and droll." Other critics considered it the weakest film of the trilogy, perhaps because it's a comedy. But for Caryn James of the New York Times the opposite was true. "Anyone who has seen the austere, pretentious Blue...will scarcely believe that the witty, deadpan White was made by the same man," she wrote, calling it "a rich, light-handed marvel." British critic Geoff Andrew agreed: "It's often cruel, of course, and cool as an ice-pick, but it's still endowed with enough unsentimental humanity to end with a touching, lyrical admission of the power of love." Kieslowski himself once said it was his favorite of the trilogy because it was about love. He retired as a director after completing the final film in the trilogy, Red (1994), but continued to write scripts, intending them for others to direct. He died in 1996, less than two years after his retirement.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Producer: Marin Karmitz
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Cinematography: Edward Klosinski
Editor: Urszula Lesiak
Production Design: Halina Dobrowolska, Claude Lenoir
Music: Zbigniew Preisner
Principal Cast: Zbigniew Zamachowski (Karol Karol), Julie Delpy (Dominique Vidal), Janusz Gajos (Mikolaj), Jerzy Stuhr (Jurek), Aleksander Bardini (The Lawyer), Jerzy Trela (Bronek), Jerzy Nowak (The Old Farmer), Grzegorz Warchol (The Elegant Man)
91 minutes

by Margarita Landazuri
White

White

Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy--shot successively in one nine-month burst of creativity--is his final work as a director. The titles of the three films reflect the colors of the French flag, and their themes are loosely based on the founding principles of the French republic: "liberte, egalite, fraternite" (liberty, equality, brotherhood). If the first film, Blue (1993), is the trilogy's tragedy (at least in the beginning), the second, White (1994) is its comedy, albeit a black comedy. White's hapless protagonist (Zbigniew Zamachowski), a Polish hairdresser living in Paris, is whimsically named Karol Karol. Karol is the Polish name for Charles, and Kieslowski admitted that the character was inspired by Chaplin's Little Tramp. White begins with a shot of a large suitcase on an airport luggage carousel, then moves to a Parisian courtroom, where Karol's French wife Dominique (Julie Delpy) is divorcing him because he is unable to perform sexually. Homeless, broke, rejected and scorned by his ex-wife, Karol ends up playing a comb kazoo in the Metro, begging for coins. There, he meets a fellow Pole who agrees to help smuggle him back to Poland in that oversize suitcase. All does not go as planned, however, and one of the funniest moments in the film comes when Karol finds himself beaten and bloody, dumped in a snowy, desolate Polish field. Looking around, he happily exclaims, "Home at last!" Poland had traded communism for democracy in 1989, and by the early 1990s was transitioning to a western-style economy, where anything is available for a price. Karol sees opportunities everywhere, and shrewdly takes advantage of them. Before long, he too has transitioned, from a Chaplinesque sad sack to a savvy businessman in a cashmere coat with slicked-back hair. But he's still longing for the ex-wife who rejected him, and now that he's achieved "egalite," proving himself her equal and more, he's determined to win her back, and to get revenge. French actress Julie Delpy had auditioned for Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique (1991), but even though she was wrong for that part, he remembered her when he was casting White. "He was very controlling," she later recalled, without rancor. "He was always sitting right under the camera, watching, smoking. That nice diffused lighting was smoke!" She found this way of working especially disconcerting when shooting a sex scene. Kieslowski sat under the camera inches away from her, timing her moans with his watch. When he wanted her to escalate the moans, he would gesture frantically. Delpy also revealed that after the film wrapped, Kieslowski called her back to shoot a new ending. During editing, he had realized that the film needed closure between Karol and Dominique. "Kieslowski wanted to give my character a little more warmth, he wanted to give her a chance to say something." He also wanted to add "a glimpse of hope," she said. White premiered at Berlin Film Festival in February of 1994, where it won the Silver Bear for directing. Variety critic Lisa Nesselson called it "involving, bittersweet and droll." Other critics considered it the weakest film of the trilogy, perhaps because it's a comedy. But for Caryn James of the New York Times the opposite was true. "Anyone who has seen the austere, pretentious Blue...will scarcely believe that the witty, deadpan White was made by the same man," she wrote, calling it "a rich, light-handed marvel." British critic Geoff Andrew agreed: "It's often cruel, of course, and cool as an ice-pick, but it's still endowed with enough unsentimental humanity to end with a touching, lyrical admission of the power of love." Kieslowski himself once said it was his favorite of the trilogy because it was about love. He retired as a director after completing the final film in the trilogy, Red (1994), but continued to write scripts, intending them for others to direct. He died in 1996, less than two years after his retirement. Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski Producer: Marin Karmitz Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz Cinematography: Edward Klosinski Editor: Urszula Lesiak Production Design: Halina Dobrowolska, Claude Lenoir Music: Zbigniew Preisner Principal Cast: Zbigniew Zamachowski (Karol Karol), Julie Delpy (Dominique Vidal), Janusz Gajos (Mikolaj), Jerzy Stuhr (Jurek), Aleksander Bardini (The Lawyer), Jerzy Trela (Bronek), Jerzy Nowak (The Old Farmer), Grzegorz Warchol (The Elegant Man) 91 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

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

Released in United States Summer June 10, 1994

Expanded Release in United States June 17, 1994

Expanded Release in United States June 24, 1994

Re-released in United States January 13, 1995

Re-released in United States April 5, 1996

Released in United States on Video March 4, 2003

Released in United States 1994

Released in United States February 1994

Released in United States September 1994

Released in United States October 1994

Released in United States January 1995

Released in United States March 13, 1996

Released in United States September 1996

Released in United States February 1999

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

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

Shown at Berlin International Film Festival (in competition) February 10-21, 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 second installment in Krzysztof Kieslowski's trilogy based on the Tricolore: liberty, equality, and fraternity. The first installment is "Blue" (France/Poland/Switzerland/1993), starring Juliette Binoche; the third is "Red" (France/Poland/Switzerland/1994), starring Irene Jacob and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Krzysztof Kieslowski received a Silver Bear award for best director at the 1994 Berlin International Film Festival.

Began shooting November 9, 1992.

Completed shooting February 1, 1993.

Released in United States Summer June 10, 1994

Expanded Release in United States June 17, 1994

Expanded Release in United States June 24, 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 March 4, 2003

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

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

Released in United States February 1994 (Shown at Berlin International Film Festival (in competition) February 10-21, 1994.)

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

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

Released in United States March 13, 1996 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade Theater) March 13, 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.)

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