Review: Trois Couleurs: Bleu (Three Colors: Blue, 1993)


I’ll tell you one thing, in this house there’s zero chance our cat gets loaned out for anything!

Scenario By: Krzysztof Kieslowski & Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Directed By: Krzysztof Kieslowski

I most often use the term challenging when referring to the intellectual aims of a film. There’s no denying that I like movies that challenge me intellectually. Trois Couleurs: Bleu is an intellectually challenging film, but it’s challenging to the viewer in other arenas as well. Krzysztof Kieslowski has produced a film that challenges the viewer just as much emotionally and artistically as it does intellectually. He wants the audience to engage with his film on multiple levels and in order for the audience to do as such he has layered Trois Couleurs: Bleu so that it has a rich and deeply implemented theme.

I’m not exactly bringing anything new to the table when I say that Trois Couleurs: Bleu is about liberation. The film is based in France, funded by French money, and is part of a trilogy that directly correlates with the French flag. On said flag the color blue stands for liberty, and in the case of the movie liberation. The character of Julie is seeking her own liberation, in a variety of ways. The events at the beginning of the film both harm and depress her (yet another reason for the multitude of blue hues that permeate the film).To deal with how hurt she is Julie retreats and cuts herself off from society. She seeks to sever her connection with humanity because she believes that her isolation will allow her sorrow to pass, as well as forego the opportunity for more damage coming her way. What she discovers in her journey is that in order to liberate herself she needs to accept that we are a connected society. Isolation can only help you so much, it is the people around us who help us to find our liberation. Whether emotional, intellectual, or artistic, if we are to be free we must interact with others.

The direction of pan Kieslowski is, to put it mildly, brilliant. He peppers Trois Couleurs: Bleu with visual cues as to the mental state of the lead character. He establishes a running theme of people jumping and the rope that tethers them to their jumping point. At first we see little of the rope, but as the movie progresses more and more of the scenes of people jumping make sure to visualize the rope. As Julie heals and grows throughout the film she begins to tether herself again to other people. The musical notes are another form of thematic layering, as the constant reference to music highlights how the various elements of music must work together in order for music to be produced. There is the coloring of the film, pan Kieslowski shades much of the picture in blue. This is both a nod to the title, as well as a tome to the depression faced by Julie. Pan Kieslowski doesn’t need me to vouch for his skills as a director, but they are present and I know I’m not the only one who sees them in Trois Couleurs: Bleu.

Another person who doesn’t need any of my vouching is Juliette Binoche. She’s just as fantastic in Trois Couleurs: Bleu as she has been in every other films of hers that I’ve seen. In Trois Couleurs: Bleu mademoiselle Binoche needs to present Julie as emotionally distant yet hurt all at once. That’s not an easy task to accomplish, but mademoiselle Binoche accomplishes said task in splendid fashion. Julie feels real, and in turn her pain, anguish, and eventual liberation feel oh so real. Thanks go to mademoiselle Binoche for her wonderful, and haunting, portrayal of a woman who has lost everything and is struggling to move on with her life.

To say that I am looking forward to the rest of the Three Colors trilogy would be an understatement. Trois Couleurs: Bleu is a film that is full of emotional, artistic, and intellectual depth. I was challenged by Trois Couleurs: Bleu and I loved every second of the challenge. The final two films in the trilogy have a lot to live up to, but based on pan Kieslowski’s track record and the strength of Trois Couleurs: Bleu I’m confident the next two films will turn out just fine.





2 responses to “Review: Trois Couleurs: Bleu (Three Colors: Blue, 1993)

  1. I’m glad you’re watching this trilogy which I think is the best film trilogy out there as I’m going to revisit it next month as I’m right now doing “The Decalogue”.

  2. It’ll have a lot to live up to trilogy wise, with Lord of the Rings and Toy Story being the best I’ve ever seen. I’m hopeful it will be great no matter what though.

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