This is part of a series where I talk about my favorite movies. Read the intro here.
Here’s a controversial statement that’s gonna blow the doors off the Internet: Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy is the best trilogy of all time. Yes, better than Star Wars and The Matrix. Yes, better than Lord of The Rings. Yes, better than that one Hobbit thing that’s being padded out to 10 hours. YES EVEN BETTER THAN TRANSPORTER.
The final film of the trilogy, Red, is the most widely acclaimed of the films, but for me, the trilogy peaks with its first film, Blue. (The other two are also classics, however; I’ll get to them at some point.) Juliette Binoche stars as the wife of a famous composer. Her husband and daughter are killed in a car accident, and Blue looks at Binoche’s recovery from this traumatic event. Here, let the trailer wash over you:
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I think what makes Blue so special is that it’s emotionally complex, but the narrative is clear and clean. As an “art movie” it’s simple to grasp what’s going on, but it’s not obtuse to the point of being incomprehensible. The visual storytelling in this film is stunning; Unlike other, more staid art films with long takes and desaturated color palettes, Blue is all about using form and color to convey point-of-view and emotion. It’s probably a good time to point out that I’m not that great at in-depth film analysis. (No, for real!) I can tell you how Blue made me feel, but there are many things under the surface that I didn’t catch. For example, according to Wikipedia:
A symbol common to the three films is that of an underlying link or thing that keeps the protagonist linked to his/her past. In the case of Blue, it is the lamp of blue beads and a symbol seen throughout the film in the TV of people falling (doing either sky diving or bungee jumping), the director is careful in showing falls with no cords at the beginning of the film but as the story develops the image of cords becomes more and more apparent as a symbol of a link to the past.
Wow, REALLY?! I had no idea. There are also apparently several things that serve as metaphors for the unification of Europe, but all of that sailed over my head. I think that’s what make Blue so rewatchable: When I watch it, I know that what I’m seeing is brilliant, but that genius is felt more often than shown. The themes are personal and universal and can relate to anyone (What does it mean to be truly free? When in pain, how does one find needed catharsis?), even to goobers who “don’t wanna read a dang ol’ movie.” (I’ve heard that phrase a lot, right down to the “dang ‘ol”.)
I love the ending of this film, in which the final piece is played as we look at a montage of the characters. It’s muted and triumphant at the same time, in that way only super genius-y types can achieve. You should watch Blue. A lot.
SHILL: Three Colors: Blue, White, Red (Criterion Collection)