|Three Colours: Red|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Krzysztof Kieślowski|
|Produced by||Marin Karmitz|
|Music by||Zbigniew Preisner|
|Edited by||Jacques Witta|
|Box office||$3.5 million|
Three Colours: Red (French : Trois couleurs: Rouge, Polish : Trzy kolory. Czerwony) 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.
Red was released to universal critical acclaim, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Director for Kieślowski. It was also selected as the Swiss entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 67th Academy Awards, but was disqualified for not being a majority-Swiss production.
Valentine Dussaut (Irene Jacob) studies at University of Geneva and works as a part-time model. She regularly attends ballet classes. She calls her possessive boyfriend in London and plans to meet him. During her part-time job as a model, she poses for a chewing-gum campaign and the photo selected is one of her looking very sad. While walking back home, Auguste (Jean-Pierre Lorit), a student neighbour of Valentine's, drops his textbooks and one book falls open at a particular chapter of the Criminal Code, which he notes. Driving back to her apartment, Valentine is distracted and accidentally hits a Malinois dog. She tracks down the owner, a retired judge, Joseph Kern (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who seems unconcerned. Valentine takes the dog, Rita, to a veterinarian, where she learns that the dog is pregnant. She overcomes the sexual advances made by the ad company's photographer. Later, money is delivered to her apartment from an unnamed sender.
Out for a walk the next day, Rita leads Valentine back to Kern's house. He says she should keep the dog after confirming that he sent the money for the expenses. She returns the extra amount to Kern after meeting the vet's expenses. Valentine hears that Kern is eavesdropping on a male neighbour's sexual telephone conversation with his male lover. She tries to convey to him her concerns about respecting the privacy of his neighbour. The judge challenges Valentine to reveal the eavesdropping to the neighbour. She goes to do so but is horrified to see the man's young daughter on the telephone extension, listening to the same conversation. Upon her return, Kern tells her that their actions of telling or not telling, and spying or not spying make no difference to the eventual outcome of other people's lives. As the conversation goes on, Valentine tells him that her brother was fathered by someone other than her biological father. Before leaving, Valentine also hears a conversation between Auguste and his girlfriend, Karin (Frederique Feder), neither of whom she has met. Auguste passes his exam to become a judge and credits his success to the dropped textbook.
That evening, Kern writes a series of letters to his neighbours and the court confessing his spying activities, and the community files a class action. Later, at the law courts, Kern sees Karin flirting with another man. When Valentine confronts Kern, he says it was her feeling of disgust that prompted him to confess. They discuss the nature of altruism when Kern recounts a case in which he mistakenly acquitted a sailor, only to see him live a life free of crime. Valentine asks if he has ever loved or been loved. Kern evades the question and instead talks about a dream he had the night before in which Valentine was 40 or 50 years old living a very happy life.
Auguste has been unable to reach Karin by telephone since his graduation so he drives to her flat and climbs up the building. Through the window, he sees her having sex with another man and leaves, distraught. He takes his grief out on his dog and at one stage abandons him at a lamppost. On Karin's personalised weather information service she is predicting that the weather around the UK will be perfect. She is happy about this as she is about to sail there herself soon (with her new boyfriend who owns a yacht).
The day before Valentine leaves for England, she invites Kern to her fashion show. Stormy weather is gathering and Kern seems to sense that Valentine will soon be in danger from it. After the show their conversation turns again to Kern's doomed love life. His answer betrays echoes of Auguste's recent life, including the infidelity and the dropped textbook. He says that the girl he loved died in an accident after he followed her across the English Channel. He also says that his last case as a judge pitted him against his ex-girlfriend's lover. By co-incidence, Auguste's first case as a judge is Kern's trial. Kern tells Valentine in more detail about the dream he had about her. In the dream, she is 50 years old and happy and with a man she loves. As they say goodbye, Kern and Valentine plan to meet again in three weeks' time when Kern will give her one of Rita's puppies.
Finally, Valentine boards the ferry to England. We also see Auguste on the ferry, reunited with his dog. Kern is choosing the puppy he will give to Valentine on her return when he hears disastrous news; the storm has hit the English Channel and both the ferry and the yacht have sunk. Kern fears the worst, only seven survivors are pulled from the ferry. We see six of them in freeze-frame: Julie and Olivier from Blue , Karol and Dominique from White , Auguste (without his dog) and finally Valentine. Auguste and Valentine are looking into each other's eyes, inviting the viewer to believe this is the man from Kern's dream, with whom she will find happiness. The final image replicates the iconic ad poster of Valentine, but this time with real emotion showing on her face.
Kieslowski stated that Red was the most difficult film of the trilogy to write: "I've got everything I need to put across what I want to say, which is really quite complicated. Therefore, if the idea I've got in mind doesn't come across, it meant that either film is too primitive a medium to support such a construction or that all of us put together haven't got enough talent for it."The main theme of the score, "Bolero", was written before any filming took place. According to the filmmakers, it was meant to symbolize events that occur repeatedly in people's lives.
As in the previous two films, a single color dominates: numerous objects in the film are bright red, including the huge advertising banner featuring Valentine's facial profile. Several images recur throughout the film. Characters are often juxtaposed on different physical levels. The scenes between Valentine and Kern at his house never show the characters on the same level: Valentine either stands above him or sits below him. When Karin searches for Auguste, he hides on a walkway below her. During the climactic scene in the theater, Valentine stands on the stage, towering over Kern who is in the pit below. Telephone communication is important throughout, and so is broken glass (when Kern reveals his eavesdropping, his neighbors throw rocks through his windows, and at the end of the film Kern watches Valentine and Auguste on the news while watching the outside world through broken glass). Also, when Valentine is bowling, the camera moves down the line to where there sits a broken glass next to a packet of Marlboro cigarettes, which is the brand that Auguste smokes.
Biblical references relating to the Gospel of Matthew are also evident. The old man can be pictured as an Old Testament archetype, a God-like figure. Exploring biblical ideas in Red the questions of the judge being a ‘God’ figure is probably the one that has been explored most often. That he is as an Old Testament God, control over the wind and seas and predicts about people future. This film also depicts topics of the Philosophy of Law and the manner in which man acts in society, the relationship between the law, ethics and socially acceptable behavior and how not all of them coincide, particularly in the reflections by Judge Kern and some symbols related to Auguste.
The film has been interpreted as an anti-romance, in parallel with Blue being an anti-tragedy and White being an anti-comedy.
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Three Colors: Red received overwhelmingly positive reviews. It currently holds both a 100/100 rating on Metacritic and a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 52 reviews, with an average rating of 8.7/10. Rotten Tomatoes' critical consensus reads, "A complex, stirring, and beautifully realized portrait of interconnected lives, Red is the captivating conclusion to a remarkable trilogy."It is one of only two films to receive perfect ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic (the other one being Citizen Kane ).
Film critic Geoff Andrew responded positively in Time Out London : "While Kieślowski dips into various interconnecting lives, the central drama is the electrifying encounter between Valentine—caring, troubled—and the judge, whose tendency to play God fails to match, initially, the girl's compassion. It's a film about destiny and chance, solitude and communication, cynicism and faith, doubt and desire; about lives affected by forces beyond rationalization. The assured direction avoids woolly mysticism by using material resources—actors, color, movement, composition, sound—to illuminate abstract concepts. Stunningly beautiful, powerfully scored and immaculately performed, the film is virtually flawless, and one of the very greatest cinematic achievements of the last few decades. A masterpiece."
Three Colours: Blue 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.
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 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.
Jean-Louis Xavier Trintignant is a French actor. He won the Best Actor Award at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival as well as the Best Actor Award at the César Awards 2013. He starred in classic films such as Z, A Man and a Woman, The Great Silence, The Conformist, Three Colours: Red, and Amour.
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).
Heaven is a 2002 romantic thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer, starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi. Co-screenwriter Krzysztof Kieślowski intended for it to be the first part of a trilogy, but Kieślowski died before he could complete the project. The film is an international co-production among producers based in Germany, France, Italy, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The dialogue is in Italian and English.
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.
Hell is a French film, released in 2005 and directed by Danis Tanović. It is based on a script originally drafted by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, which was meant to be the second film in a trilogy with the titles Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. The script was finished by Piesiewicz after Kieślowski died in 1996. The movie stars Emmanuelle Béart, Marie Gillain, and Carole Bouquet.
Camera Buff is a 1979 Polish drama film written and directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Jerzy Stuhr. The film is about a humble factory worker whose newfound hobby, amateur film, becomes an obsession, and transforms his modest and formerly contented life. Camera Buff won the Polish Film Festival Golden Lion Award and the FIPRESCI Prize and Golden Prize at the 11th Moscow International Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival Otto Dibelius Film Award in 1980.
A Short Film About Killing is a 1988 drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Mirosław Baka, Krzysztof Globisz, and Jan Tesarz. Written by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, the film was expanded from Dekalog: Five of the Polish television series Dekalog. Set in Warsaw, Poland, the film compares the senseless, violent murder of an individual to the cold, calculated execution by the state. A Short Film About Killing won both the Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the European Film Award for Best Film.
Piotr Sobociński was a Polish cinematographer. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Three Colours: Red in 1994. Sobociński was the son of Polish cinematographer Witold Sobociński.
Blind Chance is a Polish film written and directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Bogusław Linda. The film presents three separate storylines, told in succession, about a man running after a train and how such an ordinary incident could influence the rest of the man's life. Originally completed in 1981, Blind Chance was suppressed by the Polish authorities for several years until its delayed release in Poland on 10 January 1987 in a censored form.
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.
Geoff Andrew is a British writer and lecturer on film, and Programmer-at-large at BFI South Bank. After gaining a First in Classics at King's College, Cambridge, he was for some years programmer at London's Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, and later became the editor and chief critic of the film section of Time Out magazine.
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