Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
“Blue, the first film in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Three Colors” trilogy, may be inspired by the meaning of the first color in the French flag (liberty), but the irascible director would never be so literal.” (823, Joshua Klein, 1001 Movies To See Before You Die)
From the very first frame you realize that sound in general and music in particular play an important role in Trois Couleurs: Bleu. And of equal importance, as the very title itself suggests, is the color blue!
Trois Couleurs: Bleu most definitely has that art house feel and is much less polished than your standard Hollywood fare. Kieslowski chooses fantastically interesting and intriguing visual shots and frames which make the film a joy to watch. All his decisions are precise and chosen with care in order to focus the viewer’s eye on just the right thing, evidenced early on when the frame is pulled tight on a dripping brake line with Anna returning in soft focus in the background. Clearly this little detail is one we need to be aware of and remembered. “Kieslowski creates a film whose richness and honesty offer a glimpse into the enigmatic workings of the soul.” (823)
He employs extreme close-ups regularly to great visual effect, as well as the soft focus which helps the audience identify with Julie, played magnificently by Juliette Binoche, as she attempts to move on past the horrific events at the start of the film.
The film is not a happy one and has a melancholy feel to it so the color blue fits it perfectly. At the same time the blue enhances the emotional tone of the film. The color blue suffuses the entirety of the film from subtle ways like a hint of blue tint to lighting scenes exclusively with blue light. There is always an element of the color in every scene.
Music is linked to her grief and just like grief hits her at the most unexpected time. It’s an unusual tactic but one I rather like – instead of showing Julie breaking down and crying the music swells and it fades to black.
There’s a numbness to Julie that doesn’t really diminish over time. Rather it’s like one day she just comes to accept her loss which in turn allows her to begin the process of moving on.
While the film may be one of sadness it is also one about strength and re-growth. Joshua Klein sums up the film best when he says “he fills every frame of Blue with meaning, enhanced and accented in no small part by Binoche’s brave and powerful performance, which hinges on subtle tics and other physical nuances in its depiction of a broken spirit slowly pulling herself back together.” (823)