|Three Colours: Blue|
French release poster
|Directed by||Krzysztof Kieślowski|
|Produced by||Marin Karmitz|
|Music by||Zbigniew Preisner|
|Edited by||Jacques Witta|
|Box office||$1.33 million |
Three Colours: Blue (French : Trois couleurs: Bleu, Polish : Trzy kolory. Niebieski) is a 1993 French drama film directed and co-written by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. Blue is the first of three films that comprise the Three Colours trilogy, themed on the French Revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity; it is followed by White and Red . According to Kieślowski, the subject of the film is liberty, specifically emotional liberty, rather than its social or political meaning.
Set in Paris, the film is about a woman whose husband and child are killed in a car accident. Suddenly set free from her familial bonds, she attempts to cut herself off from everything and live in isolation from her former ties, but finds that she can't free herself from human connections.
Blue received critical acclaim upon release and won several accolades, including the Golden Lion and the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, and it is among Kieślowski's most celebrated works.
Julie (Juliette Binoche), wife of the famous composer Patrice de Courcy, must cope with the death of her husband and daughter in an automobile accident she herself survives. While recovering in hospital, Julie attempts suicide by overdose, but cannot swallow the pills. After being released from hospital, Julie, who it is suggested wrote (or helped to write) much of her husband's famous pieces, destroys what is left behind of them. Calling Olivier (Benoît Régent), an unmarried collaborator of her husband's who has always admired her, she spends a night with him and says goodbye. Emptying the family house and putting it up for sale, she takes an apartment in Paris near Rue Mouffetard without telling anyone, her only memento being a mobile of blue beads that the viewer assumes belonged to her daughter.
Julie disassociates herself from all past memories and distances herself from former friendships, even being no longer recognised by her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. She also reclaims and destroys the unfinished score for her late husband's last commissioned work—a piece celebrating European unity following the end of the Cold War. Excerpts of its music, however, haunt her throughout the film.
Despite her desire to live anonymously and alone, life in Paris forces Julie to confront elements of her past that she would rather not face. A boy who saw the accident seeks her out to give her a Christian cross he found by the car and to repeat her husband's last words, the punchline of an indelicate joke. She reluctantly befriends an exotic dancer named Lucille (Charlotte Véry) who is having an affair with one of the neighbors and helps her when she needs moral support. Then on TV she sees Olivier in an interview, announcing that he will try to complete Patrice's commission and showing pictures of Patrice with an attractive young woman.
While trying both to stop Olivier from completing the score and to find out who her husband's mistress was, she becomes more engaged in her former life. She tracks down Sandrine (Florence Pernel), Patrice's lover, and finds out that she is carrying his child; Julie arranges for her to have her husband's house, not yet sold, and recognition of his paternity for the child. This prompts her to restart her relationship with Olivier and to collaborate with him after all.
In the final sequence, part of their completed Unity of Europe piece is played (which features chorus and a solo soprano singing in Greek the praise of divine love in Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians) and images are seen of all the people Julie has affected by her actions. The final image is of Julie, crying—the second time she does so in the film.
Blue was an international co-production between the French companies CED Productions, Eurimages, France 3 Cinéma, and MK2 Productions, the Swiss company CAB Productions and the Polish company Studio Filmowe TOR.
Like the other films in the trilogy, Blue makes frequent visual allusions to its title: numerous scenes are shot with blue filters or blue lighting, and many objects are blue. When Julie thinks about the musical score that she has tried to destroy, blue light overwhelms the screen. The film also includes several references to the colours of the tricolor that inspired Kieślowski's trilogy: several scenes are dominated by red light, and in one scene, children dressed in white bathing suits with red floaters jump into the blue swimming pool. Another scene features a link with the next film in the trilogy: while spotting the lawyer Sandrine, her husband's mistress, Julie is seen entering a courtroom where Karol, the Polish main character of White, is being divorced by Dominique, his estranged French wife.
Music plays an intricate element of the plot in that it illustrates Julie's efforts to be isolated from everything but cannot do it, much as music cannot be made with a single note but through harmony with all others and how everyone has (or represents) a different kind of music, such as the union of Julie/Patrice had a special tone, which is quite different and more raw with the union of Julie/Olivier.
Another aspect in the film are the fade-outs, which are traditionally used in movies to represent time passing or to conclude a certain scene, but here instead bring the viewer back to the point in time when the fade-out began. The occasional fade-outs and fade-ins to Julie's character are used to represent an extremely subjective point of view. According to Kieślowski, "at a certain moment, time really does pass for Julie while at the same time, it stands still. Not only does her music come back to haunt her at a certain point, but time stands still for a moment."
Three Colours: Blue received widespread acclaim from film critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 98% based on 46 reviews, with an average rating of 8.5/10.The website's critical consensus reads, "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." On Metacritic, another review aggregator, the film has a weighted average score of 85 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim".
Marjorie Baumgarten of The Austin Chronicle said:
Blue is a film 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.
Evangeline Spachis of the GirlonFilm states that:
Blue is a visual and arousing cinematic experience, one that deserves repeated and in-depth viewings.
Derek Malcolm of The Guardian wrote:
Blue remains an intense and moving tribute to the woman at its centre who, in coming back from tragedy, almost refuses, but ultimately accepts the only real love that's on offer.
Juliette Binoche is a French actress, artist, and dancer. She has appeared in more than 60 feature films and has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including; an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a César Award.
Krzysztof Kieślowski was a Polish film director and screenwriter. He is known internationally for Dekalog (1989), The Double Life of Veronique (1991), and the Three Colors trilogy (1993–1994). Kieślowski received numerous awards during his career, including the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize (1988), FIPRESCI Prize, and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (1991); the Venice Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize (1989), Golden Lion (1993), and OCIC Award (1993); and the Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear (1994). In 1995, he received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writing.
Three Colours: White is a 1994 French-Polish comedy-drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski. White is the second in the Three Colours trilogy, themed on the French Revolutionary ideals, following Blue and preceding Red. The film was selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 67th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
Zbigniew Preisner is a Polish film score composer, best known for his work with film director Krzysztof Kieślowski.
Irène Marie Jacob is a French-Swiss actress known for her work with Polish film director Krzysztof Kieślowski. She won the 1991 Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for the Kieślowski film The Double Life of Veronique, and was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for his 1994 film Three Colours: Red. Her other film appearances include The Secret Garden (1993), Beyond the Clouds (1995), U.S. Marshals (1998), and Eternity (2016).
Julie Delpy is a French-American actress, film director, screenwriter, and singer-songwriter. She studied filmmaking at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and has directed, written, or acted in more than 30 films, including Europa Europa (1990), Voyager (1991), Three Colors: White (1993), the Before trilogy, An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), and 2 Days in Paris (2007).
Dekalog is a 1988 Polish drama series of films directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski for television and co-written by Kieślowski with Krzysztof Piesiewicz, with music by Zbigniew Preisner. It consists of ten one-hour films, inspired by the decalogue of the Ten Commandments. Each short film explores characters facing one or several moral or ethical dilemmas as they live in an austere housing project in 1980s Poland.
The Three Colours trilogy is the collective title of three films directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski: Three Colours: Blue (1993), Three Colours: White (1994), and Three Colours: Red (1994). The trilogy was a co-production between France, Poland and Switzerland, and is in the French language, with the exception of White in Polish and French. All three films were co-written by Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, produced by Marin Karmitz and composed by Zbigniew Preisner.
The Double Life of Veronique is a 1991 French-Polish-Norwegian drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Irène Jacob. Written by Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, the film explores the themes of identity, love, and human intuition through the characters of Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher. The two women do not know each other, and yet they share a mysterious and emotional bond that transcends language and geography.
A Short Film About Love is a Polish romantic drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Grażyna Szapołowska and Olaf Lubaszenko. Written by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, the film is about a young post office worker deeply in love with a promiscuous older woman who lives in an adjacent apartment building. After spying on her through a telescope, he meets and declares his love for this jaded woman who long ago gave up on believing in love. She responds to his innocence by initiating him on the basic fact of life—that there is no love, only sex. A Short Film About Love is an expanded film version of Dekalog: Six, part of Kieślowski's 1988 Polish language ten-part television series, Dekalog. The film is set in Warsaw. The film was selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 61st Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
Jacques Witta is a French film editor who began working in motion picture editing in the late 1950s. During his career, he has edited more than 60 feature films and has worked with noted French film directors such as Claude Berri and Jean Becker but is best known for his collaboration with Krzysztof Kieślowski which began with The Double Life of Véronique, and continued on Three Colors: Blue and Three Colors: Red. He was also the editor of Harrison's Flowers, which was released by Universal Pictures in the US theatrically.
Florence Pernel is a French actress.
No End is a 1985 film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Grażyna Szapołowska, Maria Pakulnis, and Aleksander Bardini. The film is about the state of martial law in Poland after the banning of the trade union Solidarity in 1981. Kieślowski worked with several regular collaborators for the first time on No End.
The 19th César Awards ceremony, presented by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma, honoured the best French films of 1993 and took place on 26 February 1994 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. The ceremony was chaired by Gérard Depardieu and hosted by Fabrice Luchini and Clémentine Célarié. Smoking / No Smoking won the award for Best Film.
The 20th César Awards ceremony, presented by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma, honoured the best French films of 1994 and took place on 25 February 1995 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. The ceremony was chaired by Alain Delon and hosted by Jean-Claude Brialy and Pierre Tchernia. Wild Reeds won the award for Best Film.
Three Colours: Red is a 1994 romantic mystery film co-written, produced and directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. It is the final installment of the Three Colours trilogy, which examines the French Revolutionary ideals; it is preceded by Blue and White. Kieślowski had announced that this would be his final film, which proved true with the director's sudden death in 1996. Red is about fraternity, which it examines by showing characters whose lives gradually become closely interconnected, with bonds forming between two characters who appear to have little in common.
Short Working Day is a Polish film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski. Written by Kieślowski and Hanna Krall, the film is about the workers protests in June '76 in Radom, as seen from the perspective of the local Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party. The film is based on real events, but the characters are fictional. Short Working Day was filmed in 1981, but had its official premiere on television only in 1996. During these 15 years, however, it was shown many times in film clubs and at special movie show-times.
Personnel is a 1975 Polish television drama film written and directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Juliusz Machulski, Michal Tarkowski, and Wlodzimierz Borunski. The film won the Grand Prize during the Mannheim International Filmfestival in October 1975 and numerous awards at national festivals, including the Grand Prix IV Koszalin Film Encounters "The Young and Film" in 1976. The film also won the Grand Prize in the field of television films in the Third Polish Film Festival in Gdańsk in 1976, where Kieślowski was also honored by the award of journalists. Personnel is Krzysztof Kieślowski's first feature-length film.
The Calm is a film by Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski made in 1976 but not exhibited until broadcast on Polish television in 1980. It starred Jerzy Stuhr, Izabella Olszewska, and Jerzy Trela. Based on a story by Lech Borski and a screenplay by Kieślowski and Jerzy Stuhr, the film is about a young man who leaves prison after a three-year sentence seeking to start a new life. His dreams of a better life are broken, however, when he is forced into a conflict between a corrupt construction company boss and his fellow workers who go on strike. The Calm was filmed on location in Kraków and completed in 1976, but was banned by the state because of its subject matter—strikes were illegal in Poland during that time. The film was finally shown on Polish television for the first time on 19 September 1980. In 1981, The Calm received the Polish Film Festival Special Jury Prize.
Julie Mathilde Charlotte Claire Bertuccelli is a French director born February 12, 1968, in Boulogne-Billancourt.
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