Juliette Binoche stars in THREE COLORS: BLUE (Trois couleurs: Bleu), directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski for MK2 Diffusion.

Three Colors: Blue (1993, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

From the first few minutes of Blue, the entire thing seems conventional. Not exactly predictable, though it’s often somewhat predictable, but definitely conventional. And when it veers away from being conventional, it soon returns to it. Director Kieslowski figures out punctuation marks to draw the viewer’s attention to lead Juliette Binoche’s conflict and reuses them over and over again.

So maybe Blue is predictable. I guess conventional just sounded like less of a pejorative way of saying it.

Because Kieslowski isn’t trying for conventional. A good portion of the film is really just Binoche suffering after the death of her husband and child and rejecting her need to grieve. She’s forcing herself to persevere and Binoche does a wonderful job showing the conflict. There’s a lot of symbolism for those conflicts too, but Kieslowski offsets them with some fantastic scenes. Binoche’s relationship with her neighbor, sex worker Charlotte Véry, is peculiar and seems like it might lead somewhere interesting.

That lack of interesting destinations is Blue’s biggest problem at the end. Kieslowski wraps everything up rather neatly–shockingly neatly–by the last shot. Even though Binoche’s character tries hard not to lead a generative life anymore, she does. Only Kieslowski doesn’t want to deal with any of those threads for the conclusion.

Blue could have run thirty minutes with the story Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz go with. Of course, the story of Binoche’s listless wandering could have taken three hours.

Beautiful photography from Slawomir Idziak. Great acting.

Just… eh.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; written by Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Agnieszka Holland, Edward Zebrowski and Slawomir Idziak; director of photography, Slawomir Idziak; edited by Jacques Witta; music by Zbigniew Preisner; production designer, Claude Lenoir; produced by Marin Karmitz; released by MK2 Diffusion.

Starring Juliette Binoche (Julie Vignon – de Courcy), Benoît Régent (Olivier), Florence Pernel (Sandrine), Charlotte Véry (Lucille), Hélène Vincent (La journaliste), Philippe Volter (L’agent immobilier), Claude Duneton (Le médecin) and Emmanuelle Riva (La mère).

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