The Three Colors Trilogy: A series of masterpieces from Krzysztof Kieslowski

Blue, White, Red.

Liberty, equality, fraternity.

Chronologically these are the three colours of the French flag and the national motto of the French Republic. But these six words have a different meaning to film lovers. Yes, I am talking about the three colors trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski. The films titled as Three Colors: Blue (1993), Three Colors: White (1994) and Three Colors: Red (1994) are supposedly based on the three mottos of the French Republic. Though Kieslowski has declined this possibility, one can loosely connect the mottos with the films.

Should you watch these films? Are they worth the time?

Let’s dive into further discussion. (I’ll try to make it a spoiler-free review)

Awards and Nominations

To some people, movie quality is largely tied to its achievements. Well, for them, this trilogy is also heavy in awards and nominations.

Three Colors: Blue was awarded the best film in the Venice Film Festival of 1993. It was nominated in three categories at the 1994 Golden Globes. 

Kieslowski won the award for Best Director for Three Colours: White in 1994 Berlin Film Festival.

Three Colors: Red had a total of 18 wins and 24 nominations. It was nominated for Palme d’Or in the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The winner of that year was Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino.

You can get further details about the awards in the IMDb pages of these movies.

Now let’s stop judging art in a materialistic way and start appreciating its beauty.

Three Colors: Blue (1993)

The first of the three films are written and directed by Kieslowski has shown one’s redemption from grief. The film shows us the emotional and mental state of someone grieving deeply. Even so, the filmmaking is melodic, expressive and sympathetic. The colour blue can be related to a lot of things. From cheerfulness to the distance to sadness, it can symbolize a range of emotions. The film takes this into account and it seems like the central character of the film bounces from one emotion to another. The talented actress Juliette Binoche gives an amazing performance. In several brilliant close-up shots, her expressions almost transcend emotional boundaries. The film puts a lot of emphasis on music. There are times when the colour blue merges with symphonies.

There is a lot that can be talked about this film that too in an unspoiled way. One can talk for hours just about the ending scene of this film.

I guess this would inspire you to watch this film. If not, then we have two other movies in our bag.

Three Colors: White (1994)

This film is based upon the most highly valued idea of the modern world, Equality. Unlike the previous film of this trilogy, this film falls more under the black comedy genre. White can be divided into three parts.

First is the shame of inequality. The central character here faces inequality and experiences a pitfall in life. From a dream of having everything to a reality of having nothing. Then comes the second part or Transformation. The character here faces something that changes his view towards life and he starts to transform. The third and final part of the film is the blissful revenge or being equal. Through a set of well-planned acts the central character here recovers the inequality of the first part.

This film is also seen as a critic and satire towards post-communist Poland.

It also questions our morality. To what extent are we willing to go in the name of equality? Where do we draw the line between getting even and vengeance?

With these complex thoughts, the film gifts us a brilliant acting, powerful dialogues, and obviously good cinematography. Just like Blue, this film has a lot of white in its scenes.

Three Colors: Red (1994)

Just as the color suggests, this film is the warmest of all three of the films. This intellectual puzzle gifts and confuses us with various depictions.

In both the art direction and photographic design, the dominance of the color red is easily noticeable.

It is set to stand for both danger, anger, love and passion throughout the film. Also, at the end of the film, one can easily understand how it is linked to Fraternity.

Red has its storyline revolved around three characters. One model, one retired judge, and one young lawyer. The model runs over a dog and this leads to a series of twisted and unpredictable events. When two of the three characters meet at first it is easily assumed that something bad is about to come.

The events throughout the film make us question about the exitance of three characters. Some might wonder that one character might be the younger version of another. While others may relate one of the characters with god. God who knows all and who orchestrates the lives of people.

The wonderful presentation of this film gives us the experience of being an eavesdropper.

We see how people with negative traits recover themselves with a touch of friendship and start to do wonderful things. The final moments of this film truly shock us with the connections from the two previous movies. Red goes short in emotional deepness compared to Blue and lacks the black comedy of White. But it makes up everything with its story and stylistic fertility.

Sadly, this movie will never be nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscars because the country of origin Switzerland has decided to reject it.

The takeaway

I had so much more to write about these three films, but I think it would be best if you give these three a watch and reveal by yourself. I’ll end with a quote from the director:

“All the films that I make are about the need to open up. About the need to communicate on another level rather than just talking about the quality of wine, car prices, flat prices or the best bank deposits.”

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