Blind Spot 2012 Review: Three Colors Blue
In the early 90’s, director Krzysztof Kieslowski created a series of three films that celebrate the colors and principles of France. The three films are entitled Blue (symbolizes liberty), White (symbolizes equality), and Red (symbolizes fraternity). This is the review for the first film in the Three Colors Trilogy, Blue.
In only a split second, everything you hold dear can be taken away. During a car ride in the French countryside, Julie (Juliette Binoche) loses her husband and young daughter. Her husband is a nationally beloved composer expected to celebrate the unification of France with his music. Most of the public’s interest lies in the death of their beloved composer and Julie is left to suffer on her own. Feeling an insurmountable weight of guilt of being the survivor, she attempts to take her own life, but can’t seem to go through with it. She’ll try to live the rest of her days sealing herself away from love.
Julie has some loose ends to clean up after leaving the hospital. She decides to separate herself from her old life in order to achieve freedom from her past life. The unfinished score her husband created she decides to burn. She also sleeps with one of her husbands best friends (Benoit Regent) to get rid of all regrets. Julie decides to create her own life in a small apartment, only keeping a blue light fixture from her daughters bedroom.
While trying her best to create separation from those who love her, she can’t help but find love in other places. She indirectly befriends one of her neighbors (Charlotte Very), who otherwise would’ve been kicked out due to her risqué profession of being a stripper. One night while trying to console her new friend she discovers in a news article that her husband had a mistress (Florence Pernel).
Instead of finding a way to get revenge on this woman, Julie decides to help her. The mistress has the composers love child inside of her and Julie decides to give her the mansion instead of selling it, so that the mistress can raise her child properly. Julie also feels free to explore what life has in-store for her and perhaps she can finally make decisions towards her own freedom.
Three Colors Blue captures the hopelessness of loss like few films can claim. From survivors guilt to shutting herself off from the world, Julie experiences intense levels of grief. There’s a measured approach to this melodrama though. Julie goes through small bouts of frustration whether it be dragging her hands across a wall to feel pain or diving until her lungs beg for air. Her only salvation comes from her capacity to care for others.
In the Three Colors Trilogy, the films’ color palette matches the name of the film. Blue can directly mean the colors of the water Julie loves to swim in or the blue light fixture she’s kept from her daughter. Of course it could also refer to Julie’s state of being after all that she has lost. Even the sheet music from her late husband carries a blue tint.
Speaking of the music, composer Zbigniew Preisner does a phenomenal job with the score. There’s a depth to his score in Blue that exceeds expectations. He had to compose a piece of music that could be used in a presentation for the unification of France. Throughout the movie, Julie is haunted by that beautiful score. Not only do pictures and people remind her of her husband, but the music he created lives inside of her.
Three Colors Blue is a phenomenal movie. The direction, acting, and score are all top-notch. After loving Double Life of Veronique, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by my sheer enjoyment of this film. The only fault of the film might be its subject. Sometimes it can be difficult to watch Julie struggle through her pain. Outside of that little caveat, Three Colors Blue is worthy of an immediate watch. Easily in the top five pictures I’ve seen this year.