Thrice as nice

Regradless of how many times you’ve seen it,the Three Colours trilogy from Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski is a rewarding experience

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Published: April 9, 2011 2:43:00 am

Regradless of how many times you’ve seen it,the Three Colours trilogy from Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski is a rewarding experience. I’ve even done something as frivolous as trying to count the number of times the one primary colour shows up in the films (Blue,White,Red). But each time,I’ve failed. I start off by keeping a count,but soon get distracted by the film in its entirety. And every time I’m swept away by the way the director underpins his fiction with a deep sense of realism,reminding us of his roots as a documenatrian,but never letting us forget,even for a moment,that we are watching a feature film.

The three colours,blue,white,red,represent the ideals behind the hues of the French flag (liberty,equality,fraternity). Each film takes the principle (and the colour) and uses the entwined threads to create a very different story. In Blue,a beautiful young woman loses her famous composer husband and her daughter in an accident,which leaves her in hospital,injured and heartbroken. In White,a Polish hairdresser is thrown out on the streets of Paris,penniless and abandoned. In Red,a stunning model runs over a dog,and discovers,in trying to make amends,a world she hadn’t imagined.

All three films are startlingly different in story and tone,but what runs through the trilogy as a lovely leitmotif is Kieslowski’s way of dealing with life,and its unexpected highs and lows. You’d think a woman devastated by tragedy would be visibly inconsolable. But Juliette Binoche’s reaction,after the death of her family,is to go completely within. On a visit to the family mansion,where she asks “the blue room” to be closed,she comes upon Marie,the housekeeper,sobbing in the pantry. Why are you crying,she asks. Because you are not,says Marie. In just that one line,you know how deep it’s gone,the death,and the pain of having to go on living.

In all three films,it’s the women who leave the strongest impact. Binoche’s wordless stare in Blue conveys desolation more effectively than anything else. In White,Julie Delpy’s impassive face as she looks upon the ashes of her short-lived marriage is an astonishing mix of emotions. And Red,at whose vibrant heart is the good-looking model played by Irene Jacob,leaves us where all of us want to go: towards love and redemption.

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