Friday, February 15, 2013

CANON OF FILM: "BLUE" (THREE COLORS)


BLUE (1993)

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz




Every so often, I find that I have to makeup an excuse to go back to Kieslowski, probably my all-time favorite filmmaker, and go through his great “Three Colors Trilogy,” of “Blue,” “White,” and “Red”. The names come from the colors of the French Flag, which stand for “Liberty/Freedom” “Equality,” and “Brotherhood/Fraternity” respectively, but just like “The Decalogue,” Kieslowski’s ten-films about the Ten Commandments, he explores these themes in quite unusual ways through unusual characters, women primarily, who fascinate us, primarily because we have no idea what they’re about to do, or what’s going to happen next. Yet, his films exhibit a poetic beauty and the visions of a filmmaker who would make incredibly odd and wondrous choices. In “Blue,” for example, which has dozens of examples of fascinating choices, the most infamous occurs in the beginning when Julie, (Juliette Binoche) is in a hospital after a car accident has killed her husband and daughter, we have an extreme close-up of Juliette Binoche’s eye, so close, that we see the reflection of the doctor informing her of the deaths. This is not a CGI effect, this is an actual shot, and an actual reflection from Juliette Binoche’s eye, made with a very rare 200mm lens. Who thinks of a shot like that, and there’s dozen’s of shots and editing techniques used like that in all his movies, maybe especially in “Blue.” After her husband’s death, a famous classical composer who’s final unfinished piece was for the concert for the Unification of Europe, she makes a conscience decision to completely abandon her life as she knew, getting rid of almost all her worldly and even personal belongings and moves into a cheap apartment on a side of town as far away from the world she knew as she could. She goes swimming a lot, she becomes fascinated by a local sidewalk flautist, who’s outside the coffee place she goes. Yet, there are still loud outbursts of music that appear to be stuck in her head that she can’t get out of, and often they’re accompanied by memories that we can’t see, but a black screen is shown instead. She’s made a choice of solitude and abandonment of her past life, trying to erase all memories and shades from her past. This is until she finds out something about her husband she didn’t know, and even then, her behavior is peculiar and intriguing. In fact, she’s one of the most mysterious characters in all of cinema, along with the two heroines played by Julie Delpy and Irene Jacob, in the second and third films of Kieslowski’s trilogy. There’s also issues floating around about the authorship of her husband’s music, as his old partner, Olivier, (Benoit Regent) has begun trying to finish the work. Julie slept with Olivier in order to see if she can feel anything, but she does not, and that’s when she goes on her inner journey. Each movie looks a little different because he used a different cinematographer for each film, and naturally, the color blue is filtered is all through this movie, as well as a circularity motif that continues to go through the three movies that eventually come together, if arbitrarily but fascinatingly. An analytical unraveling of whether one can truly achieve personal liberty and freedom, which is the true key to this trilogy, the achievement of the personal as opposed to the typical broad ideal of words like liberty, and what one will do to achieve it, and what one does when they have gotten it. 
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