Review: Trois Couleurs: Blanc (Three Colors: White, 1994)

three colors white

Are people ever on equal footing, that’s the real question!

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

There’s a lot going on in Trois Couleurs: Blanc. Saying such is obvious, but I think it’s necessary based on what I plan on covering during this review. I took away a distinct “this is the story of the relationship between France and Poland” vibe from Trois Couleurs: Blanc. However, that’s not what I plan on focusing on in this review. That dynamic of Krysztof Kieslowski’s film is interesting, and ripe for being talked about. I’d be down for a discussion of the political allegory present in Trois Couleurs: Blanc, but that’s not what I’m choosing to talk about in my review.

What am I going to discuss in my review is something larger than the political relationship between two countries. I want to focus on the relationship between two people and how that translates to relationships between people in general. It may seem odd at first glance to think that two people can somehow rival two countries. I don’t think it’s that odd though, people are in the end far more important and far more powerful than any country could ever hope to be. People make up the countries, they run the countries, and as normal citizens they are the driving force behind the identity of a country. That’s why the relationships between people interest me far more than the relationships between countries.

In Trois Couleurs: Blanc the most important relationship is the one between Dominique and Karol. Truth be told we don’t spend all that much time with Dominique, she is more of a physical bookend presence. Her spirit is always present though, as it is the reason for Karol’s journey. Everything he does is for her, although eventually this leads to his actions being for his own pleasure. But, even when he’s seeking to gratify himself his actions are still because of his ex wife. Dominique makes the decisions she does in the beginning because of Karol, and at the end she is left in a certain state because of her ex husband. Trois Couleurs: Blanc is about two people, and the way that they view equality in their relationship.

The rules of the game in Trois Couleurs: Blanc change consistently. At first it appears as if this will be a film about a down and out Polish man stuck in France. Then the film takes a turn where said Polish man is pulling himself up by his boot straps. Again the film switches things up and the tale becomes one of revenge. Finally, the film becomes one of love, the feeling that was present in the beginning but not openly present in two damaged individuals. Pan Kieslowski guides the viewer through the journey that is the relationship between Karol and Dominique. He allows the humiliation of Karol to be both hurtful and funny. The uprising of Karol is uplifting and scary at the same time. The final fate of their relationship is whimsical yet frightful. The steady hand of Pan Kieslowski leads the viewer through the minefield of human relationships in a delicate but honest manner.

There’s a lot that can be said about Trois Couleurs: Blanc. There’s the aforementioned political allegory. There’s the use of white to represent sexual release, returning home, equality, and fear of the new. The film is funny in a sardonic way that is off putting and yet hilarious all at the same time. Essentially, there’s a reason for the reputation of Trois Couleurs: Blanc, and it shines through in every moment of the film. I chose to focus on the relationship of two people as a representation of human relationships in general. Other people could watch Trois Couleurs: Blanc and come away writing six hundred plus words about a completely different element of the film. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to Trois Couleurs: Blanc, or why it’s considered a weaker film by some, but I took great pleasure in letting Pan Kieslowski guide me on such a wonderful journey.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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