Three Colors: Blue (Trois Couleurs: Bleu) (1993)
Critic Consensus: Three Colors: Blue contains some of director/co-writer Krzysztof Kieslowski's most visually arresting, emotionally resonant work -- and boasts an outstanding performance from Juliette Binoche in the bargain.
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as Mother, The Mother
as Estate Agent
as Karol Karol
as Le médecin
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Critic Reviews for Three Colors: Blue (Trois Couleurs: Bleu)
Boasts a riveting central performance by a carefully controlled, lovingly lit Juliette Binoche.
Even in such a visually sumptuous work, Kieslowski is brave enough to tell us -- through blackouts, blurred focus and commanding stillness -- not to look, but simply to listen.
Krzysztof Kieslowski's penetrating, hypnotic meditation on liberty and loss.
Audience Reviews for Three Colors: Blue (Trois Couleurs: Bleu)
"We all gotta hold on to something."
The final sequence of this film is almost the exact opposite of the genius ending of Antonioni's L'Eclisse.
Kieslowski takes us in a painful incursion into heavy suffering and grief as he makes a curious connection between sorrow and emotional liberty - a terribly ironic interpretation of the blue color of the French flag -, and Binoche is wonderful as a woman torn by lost.
You'd be hard pressed to find much criticism about the first film in Kieslowski's mediation on the central tenets of the French Revolution, but here goes. You know how the vast majority of people roll their eyes at any mention of foreign or art house cinema? Movies like Blue are the reason why. Pretentious, showy, artificial and nowhere near as profound as it thinks it is, this film centers around one woman's grief following the horrific accident that claimed the lives of her husband and only daughter. I'm all for ambiguous mood pieces, but what happens when one takes minimalism to its limit with a largely vacant protagonist? What is really being communicated? What is this film saying about grief, coping and the pursuit of repairing a broken life that hasn't been said far better in countless other films? Kieslowski's gimmicky directing, painfully obvious symbolism and nonsensical camera tricks are stilted at best, and absurd at worst.
And that score. You know, the laughably invasive one that bulldozes you right before he cuts to black... only to reopen on the same scene? It's self serving enough to make John Williams blush. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that this trite score seems to swell during Julie's (Juliette Binoche) moments of specific introspection (get it? Because her husband's music/legacy/memory haunts her. How clever!), but I couldn't help but roll my eyes upon seeing Kieslowski go back to this well time and time again.
And that ending. It seems to start with Julie having sex in a glass box full of water (?), and ends with an overwrought roll call of all the film's characters looking deep in thought. What is this, a film school thesis project?
I've read countless articles that defend this film's abstract (i.e. meandering) nature by calling it "poetic cinema." Put Blue up against anything from Bunuel, Fellini or Jodorowsky's canon and it'll pale in comparison. The aforementioned directors deal in poetics as a means to tell a story, to explore a character. They don't need to trout out every single trick in a filmmaker's arsenal to cover up for shallow, half-baked ideas. If you're like me, and constantly feel compelled to defend art house foreign cinema from the mediocrity that dominates mainstream cinema, do not present Blue as evidence. It only reinforces every single stereotype.
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