Blue (1993, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

I meant to go through the commentary and other material this time, but didn’t get to it, so I remain stupid to all the symbolism. Doesn’t change that I love this movie, one of my favorite films of the 90’s.

Plot follows the aftermath of Juliette Binoche’s car accident that kills her husband and kid… her initial reaction (attempted suicide), denial (withdrawing from all human contact) and acceptance (returning to music and her ex-lover). The camera work is sooo beautiful – cinematographer later did Veronique and Gattaca, but not White or Red. That along with the sound design (sudden symphonic bursts as the picture fades out and in mid-scene) are what blow me away, but Katy got me paying more attention to character details as well (K. doesn’t buy most of Juliette’s behavior).

Juliette is currently starring in Hou’s Flight of the Red Balloon. Her on-again lover Olivier (whose attempts to finish the husband’s millennial composition AND cluing in Juliette to the husband’s affair help return her to civilization) plays the dangerous and mysterious “Thomas” in Rivette’s Gang of Four. Lucille, the friendly stripper neighbor who lends Juliette her cat in the apartments, has been in at least two Eric Rohmer films. And Sandrine, the husband’s mistress whom Juliette invites to move in with her at the end, has been in nothing else I recognize.

Kieslowski on the color significance: the principle behind the trilogy is “how the three words liberty [Blue], equality [White] and fraternity [Red] function today – on a very human, intimate and personal plane and not a philosophical let alone a political or social one”.

The movie took a bunch of awards, including the Venice Golden Lion, but lost the French César to Alain Resnais’s Smoking / No Smoking. Katy’s not the only one who didn’t love it, though. Vincent Canby’s NYT review calls it dead, absurd, pretentious euro-art.

Derek Jarman’s Blue also came out in 1993. I’m sure the two are not very similar.