Criterion Sunday 587: “Three Colors”

It seems somehow inevitable that Criterion Collection should have a box set of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours trilogy, if only because it was a formative entry point for me into non-English language cinema in my late-teens of the mid-90s. The three films of course use the colours of the French flag and the three words of the motto “liberté, egalité, fraternité” as a launching point for their exploration of contemporary Europe. They are not explictly political — in fact, if anything, they somewhat go out of their way not to be political. However, they cannot help say something about Europe, its ideals, hopes and aspirations and then in some of its more disappointing failures. However, mostly I’d say this trilogy is about hope. In Three Colours: Blue, Juliette Binoche is liberated from her family (by death) and has to reinvent her life; in Three Colours: White, Zbigniew Zamachowski finds himself trying to restore equality with Julie Delpy, the wife who has spurned him; and in Three Colours: Red, Irène Jacob explores fraternal bonds with an elderly judge played by Jean-Louis Trintignant.


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