THree Colors Trilogy

Criterion Files

One major misconception about Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy is that the films were originally and uniquely conceived as French films, reflecting the color of the nation’s flag through the color scheme of each film and embodying themes which based upon the motto of the French Republic: liberty (Blue), equality (White), and fraternity (Red). But Kieslowski was insistent upon the fact that the stories would have remained the same no matter the national context. The framing of these films through thematics and aesthetics tied to the French flag, the director states, arose as a matter of the trilogy’s source of funding. Thus, the thread which defines the trilogy was a creative accommodation to the circumstances of the film’s production. Kieslowski’s vision for these films, then, was firm, but not rigid – the particular details of this trilogy were not predestined or set in stone. This fact frees the viewer from seeing the themes explored in the Three Colors trilogy as predominately or uniformly based within a national and cultural context. Yes, there are aspects of the brilliant Blue (1993) that are indisputably French, or at least Western European (it’s hard to imagine Americans mourning a contemporary classical composer as a national treasure), but the rather arbitrary circumstances in which the film’s production reflective in the trilogy’s connective framework allows for these themes to permeate well beyond the borders of France itself.

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This Week in DVD

Everything old is new again as two of the week’s best DVD releases are for films that are decades old including Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 redo of Fritz Lang’s classic Metropolis with music by Freddy Mercury, Loverboy and other 80s superstars. But don’t fret, there are also some solid new films to check out this week including Bellflower, Griff the Invisible, The Warring States and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Three Colors: Blue White Red (Criterion) Krzysztof Kieslowski’s thematic trilogy looks at France’s motto: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. Blue stars Juliette Binoche as a woman who suffers a terrible loss and attempts to free herself from life and its responsibilities with a kind of slow-motion suicide, but she instead finds true freedom through healing. Red features Irene Jacob as a young woman whose solitude is slowly shattered by unexpected friendships. And I have no clue what White is about. I haven’t even seen Criterion’s new set yet, but even a Criterion release of just Blue and Red would warrant an automatic purchase.

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