Kind of a quiet, contemplative movie, with little of the grand emotion of Blue or the plot hijinks of White. Valentine (Irène Jacob: Kieslowski’s Veronique, also in the Laurence Fishburne Othello, Beyond the Clouds and Gang of Four) meets a reclusive ex-judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant of My Night at Maud’s and Z) via a lost dog. When she visits again, he readily admits he’s spying on his neighbors’ phone conversations. Rhyming shots and characters make this the most Veronique-like of the Colors trilogy.
G. Evans for Criterion:
What [the judge] unveils, above all, is a world of deceit and loneliness, which he observes with detachment, despite the fact that the people he hears are his immediate neighbors. Valentine seems to be no exception to this dispersed social existence, constantly dashing to answer calls from her boyfriend in England, who attacks her with paranoid accusations of infidelity. The secondary characters, whose stories interweave with those of the central pair, likewise suffer fractured relationships and troubled lives.
Auguste, the young judge:
In the opening sequence I realized what that is on the cover of the Criterion box – a Fincherian journey through phone cables. The series ends with the stars of the three colors films being the sole survivors of a sinking ferry, finally bringing them together – a cosmic coincidence, or as Dennis Lim suggests, the ending could have been a starting point, the reason for examining these characters in the first place. Evans again: “Kieslowski went so far as to say that the climactic scene of Red reveals that White had a happy ending. There is an expansiveness to this vision, in which everything may or may not be connected, in which fictional characters continue to have lives in times and places that exist beyond their filmic stories, that absolutely fits with the resonant quality of Red.”
Competed at Cannes with Queen Margot, Exotica, Through the Olive Trees, and at the Césars where it was no match for Wild Reeds and Isabelle Adjani.
The extras are very nice. Instead of presenting a disconnected gallery of deleted scenes, the film’s editor takes us through them, comparing to the final versions and explaining why they were cut. On Kieslowski: “I often saw him come out of Red very misty-eyed, very touched by his own film. For him, Red is a meditation on old age and youth.”
With these innumerable rhymes and parallels, Red is rigged to trigger a constant sense of deja vu, an unexplained feeling of imminence. “I feel something important is happening around me,” Valentine says, articulating the nameless anticipation of the final passages.