Three Colors: Blue
Trois couleurs: Bleu
1993, 100 min., color, Blu-ray projection source
In the moving first film of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “Three Colors” trilogy — each part tells a stand-alone story — Juliette Binoche gives a tour-de-force performance as Julie, a woman reeling from the tragic death of her husband and young daughter. But “Blue” is more than just a blistering study of grief; it’s also a tale of liberation, as Julie attempts to free herself from the past while confronting truths about the life of her late husband, a composer. Shot in sapphire tones by Sławomir Idziak, and set to an extraordinary operatic score by Zbigniew Preisner, “Blue” is an overwhelming sensory experience.
In the LA Times, Kenneth Turan observes: “It is a mark of the virtuosity with which director Krzysztof Kieślowski has made ‘Blue’ that it is possible to envision its intensely emotional story of a woman's search for meaning after tragedy unhinges her life becoming, with slight tinkering, the plot for a standard-issue Bette Davis ‘women's picture’ of the 1940s.” But he quickly adds that there is “nothing ordinary or banal” about Kieslowski’s film: “Though he starts with conventional story elements, he conveys them with a striking combination of focused acting, unexpected images, music strong enough to be a physical presence, and a sensitivity to light, color (blue, not surprisingly, is a visual leitmotif) and textures.” Of actress Binoche, the critic writes: “It is always startling to re-experience the glass-shattering honesty and intensity of her performance. The idea of simply walking through a scene is alien to her, and in that sense she is perfect for this artfully made film, dense with feeling, in which no shot is ordinary and no moment taken for granted.”