MOVIE REVIEW | Three Colours: Blue (1993)

Even with my almost non-existent knowledge of French cinema, I’ve always known that Krzystof Kleslowski’s Three Colours trilogy is important in someway.  I had no idea how it was important or what the movies were even about.  All I knew was, when foreign movies manage to break through in English speaking countries, and stay talked about years later, I really should make an effort to see them.  And now that I’m one movie in, I can’t say that I’m really champing at the bit to see the other two after watching Three Colours: Blue.

A car cruises down a highway, a husband and wife talk and joke while their young daughter sits bored in the backseat.  Until the car slams into a tree and Julie, the mother and wife played by Juliette Binoche, is the only one to survive.

With everything she cares for taken away from her, Julie decides to lose the rest as well, putting their family home and all possessions up for sale and moving to an anonymous Paris apartment.  She also tries to run from her husband’s legacy.  As a renowned composer, he was in the middle of writing a high profile piece to commemorate the unification of Europe.  A piece that, it turns out, Julie herself may have largely written.

All Julie wants is to move and on forgot the life that has been stolen from her.  But as she tries to disappear into anonymity, Julie comes to realise it’s not so easy.  From her new prostitute neighbour, to her Alzheimer’s afflicted mother, to her late husband’s mistress, to his assistant who becomes her new lover, Julie’s old and new lives mean she is connected to the world, no matter how hard she tries to ignore it.

I can understand the international success of Three Colours: Blue.  To me, it really is the definition of what makes an art house film crossover to mainstream success.  It’s not your typical three act story that builds to a mid movie set back before the big feel good climax.  The story is just loose enough to feel like it’s defying movie rules, while also sticking to them enough to not be a real challenge.  It’s slow and contemplative, bit not overly boring.  And it’s all about emotion, what’s happening on the inside.  The kind of clichés arthouse audiences love, because it makes them feel superior.

If the other two films in this trilogy are similar in tone, style and quality to Three Colours: Blue, I guess I can see why they’re so highly regarded.  Binoche is really great in the lead role and all the supporting actors to a fine job too.  It’s just not a story that I found myself invested in.  It’s one of those movies that I really respect, I just don’t think I like it.  And while I’ll definitely move on to the next installment, Three Colours: White, I can’t imagine I’ll ever watch Blue again.

Three Colours: Blue
Directed By – Krzystof Kleslowski
Written By – Krzystof Kleslowski, Krzystof Pieslewicz

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