Let’s begin the famous Three Colors trilogy from Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski. The thematic inspiration comes from the French flag and the first color here is blue which represents liberty.
Julie (Juliette Binoche) is the lone survivor of a car crash that claims the life of her husband and daughter. She was married to Patrice de Courcy, a famous composer. Needles to say, Julie is emotionally distraught, attempting and failing a suicide attempt. She then goes about selling off everything that the couple owned, also putting the family mansion on the market.
From there, she rents an apartment in Paris and attempts to distance herself from all hurtful memories. As tends to happen when a person tries to hide, figures from her old life track her down and seek closure. Chief among these people is Olivier (Benoit Regent), a work associate who wants to complete Patrice’s final project: a song to commemorate Europe’s unity. There have always been some rumors that Julie had a large part in Patrice’s compositions. Olivier has always loved Julie.
Will our sad protagonist be able to escape her tragic past? Will Europe get the symbolic song that it so richly deserves? Will Julie be able to find peace and move on?
As with many European films, this is less about literal progress in a plot than it is about a character’s emotional journey. That might make it a little trying for many American audiences. Happily, much of this concern is undone by the manageable length of the film.
This film is just filled with symbolism. Julie is attempting to find liberty from her past. A few revelations and events will hopefully accomplish that. The blue lamp that Julie salvages from the house, a necklace and the theme of falling all factor in.
We also have a literal blue glow to many of the scenes. This makes for an attractive look and it, intentionally or not, emphasizes the sadness of the events. There are a number of clever/stylish shots throughout.
While the story is a solid one, it would all be for naught if Binoche’s performance wasn’t so brilliant. She is convincing as an emotionally damaged person who simply wants to be left alone.
Special features include: reflections, a discussion of Kieslowski’s early films, Binoche talks about Kieslowski, many commentaries, a cinema lesson from the director, Kieslowski’s student film, and his filmography. This is an impressive collection of features.
‘Three Colors: Blue’ is indisputably well-made. The slow pace and relentlessly somber tone will scare away some, but the quality and significance will continue to lure in some curious viewers. These brave souls will, ultimately, be rewarded.
Rated R 98 minutes 1993