THREE COLORS: BLUE (1993) C widescreen 98m dir: Krzysztof Kieslowski

w/Juliette Binoche, Benoit Regent, Florence Pernel, Charlotte Very, Emmanuelle Riva, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy, Helene Vincent, Philippe Volter, Hugues Quester, Florence Vignon, Yann Tregouet

An article about the film from the Turner Classic Movies website ( by Margarita Landazuri: "Three Colors: Blue (1993) is the first film in Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy, made over a period of nine months in France, Poland and Switzerland with primarily French financing. Much has been written about the films being named after the colors of the French flag--blue, white, and red--which represent the founding principles of the French nation: liberty, equality, fraternity. Kieslowski himself dismissed that, joking that if the financing had come from Germany, the trilogy would have been titled black, red, and gold. In fact, each film does deal, however loosely, with one of the principles.

"In Blue, Julie (Juliette Binoche) loses her husband and child in a car accident and spends the rest of the film trying to free herself from the pain of her loss by leaving her old life behind and moving from an expansive country home to a small apartment in Paris. Her husband Patrice was a prominent composer who had been chosen to create a concerto celebrating the unification of Europe. (The film was made a year after the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union, an economic and political coalition of European nations.) The concerto in the film was supposedly written for that event, and meant to be played only once. Instead, it is played at Patrice's funeral, which Julie watches on television from her hospital bed. A reporter questions whether Julie is the true author of Patrice's music, even as Patrice's assistant Olivier struggles to finish the piece, and to deal with his own love for Julie. And Julie finds out that Patrice had secrets that add another layer to her loss.

"Kieslowski's stylistic choices--some might call them tricks--force the viewer to notice, to pay attention to what's going on beneath the surface: the use of the color blue, whether it's an empty blue room in the country house, cleared out of any signs of lives lived within; the swimming pool where Julie tries to keep her sorrow at bay; or a blue crystal mobile, snatched at the last moment from her daughter's room and hung in the new apartment. Several times, the film fades to black on a scene, then immediately fades back into the same scene, emphasizing its importance. Other scenes are punctuated at key moments with sudden, dramatic passages from the unification concerto. More than the other two films in the trilogy, Blue is dependent on music, both as a plot point and for emphasis. Because the music was such an important element, composer Zbigniew Preisner (who created the music for all three films) wrote the score before shooting began on Blue, so the music could match the pace and tone of the film.

"Blue was Binoche's first film with Kieslowski, and marked her return to art house fare, after a bid for mainstream international popularity with two 1992 films Wuthering Heights and Damage, both of which received mediocre reviews. She recalled the experience of making Blue as a joyful one, in spite of sadness of the story, and found Kieslowski collaborative, and receptive to her ideas. Blue premiered at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion as best film, and earned Binoche the best actress award. She also won the French Cesar award, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.

"The film received mostly excellent reviews. Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle wrote, 'Blue is a movie that engages the mind, challenges the senses, implores a resolution, and tells, with aesthetic grace and formal elegance, a good story and a political allegory.' Desson Howe of the Washington Post singled out Binoche's performance: 'Its greatest asset is Binoche at the center of it all. Dolorous, beautiful and almost wordless, her presence carries the film as much as Kieslowski's artful design. Without her, and without her story, "Blue" is just another color.' One of the few dissenters was The New York Times' Vincent Canby: 'All of Mr. Kieslowski's considerable filmmaking talents can't bring this impossibly highfalutin' composition to recognizable life,' he wrote. 'The narrative is too precious and absurd. The interpretation it demands seems dilettantish.'

In 1994, following the premiere of the third film in the trilogy, Red, at the Cannes Film Festival, Kieslowski announced that he was retiring. Two years later, he died at the age of 54. The music played during the funeral sequence in Blue was played at his funeral."

The second film in the trilogy is WHITE.