Les Trois Couleurs Trilogy

Regular readers of mine know that I have a fascination with B movies. They are also aware that I have a love of all types of films and genres. This weekend, I thought I’d take a break from the mediocre (don’t despair, there’s more to come) and watch some truly wonderful cinema. This weekend, I’ve been watching films from Krzystzof Kieslowski’s Trois Couleurs trilogy.

If you aren’t familiar with these, I highly recommend them. A series of three films, each film is loosely based on the colors of the French flag and the ideals of the French Republic: liberty, equality and fraternity. If you haven’t already guessed, the films are in French (and Polish).  I know some people who can’t stand a subtitled movie. I don’t get it. A film is a film. Just because a film isn’t in English doesn’t make it any less of a film. Have you seen Empire of the Wolves? It’s a really good action/mystery. Loved it. 

Anyways, the order of the films is Blue, White, Red.  Or au français, Bleu, Blanc, Rouge. Blue stars Juliette Binoche (one of my favorite actresses) as the widow of a famous composer. Both her husband and her daughter have died in a car accident of which she is the lone survivor. The movie follows how she copes (or doesn’t cope) with the losses and how she finds herself and is able to carry on life from that point onwards. I don’t describe it well. It’s a very somber and moving film. Binoche’s performance is just superb. I have to be in the right kind of mood to watch this one, but when I do, I’m always moved.

White stars Julie Delphy and  Zbigniew Zamachowski as a recently divorced couple.  The grounds for said divorce are humiliating as Zamachowski’s Karol Karol was unable to perform his husbandly duty so to speak. Following the divorce, he falls to rock bottom. The film follows as he rebuilds his life and devises a plan to not only seek revenge against but also win back his ex. This films plays out with a slightly comedic tone.  I find it to be the weakest of the three, but it’s still enjoyable.

Red is my favorite of the bunch. This film follows the story of student/model Valentine (Irene Jacob) who accidentally hits the dog of a retired judge. She and the judge form a friendship, and she learns that he has been listening in on the phone calls of all his neighbors. Running parallel is the story of Valentine’s neighbor, Auguste who is studying to become a judge himself.  As the movie progresses, the seemingly separate paths of all the characters start intertwining. I don’t know what genre I’d put this movie in. Maybe mystery. It’s also such a wonderful example of good writing and character study.

What’s really cool about the trilogy is that each movie can easily stand on its own. At the same time, they are all loosely connected. Juliette Binoche’s character briefly appears (for about 5 seconds) in White. The main characters of Blue and White  appear briefly in Red.  I hardly ever watch them in order. Now that I think about it, I probably watch them in order of how I rank them. So that would be Red, Blue, White. But whatever. They are all good to watch.

So that’s my artsy-fartsy suggestion for now. I leave you with the Criterion Collection’s “3 reasons” for two of the films (I feel the one for White gives a spoiler or two) and the hopes that one day I will be able to fluently speak French. I keep trying, but alas, I only seem to remember the same sentences which translate as:

  • The monkey is on the branch. He plays banjo and smokes a pipe. (Thank you Eddie Izzard)
  • I work my pencil sharpener in the street.
  • Here is the key.
  • I do not understand.
  • You speak to0 fast for me.
  • Where is the library?
  • Where is the toilet?




About Andrea

Movie watcher; book addict; popular culture connoisseur; avid Tetris player. That's me!

Posted on March 3, 2013, in Roundup and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Les Trois Couleurs Trilogy.

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