Three Colors: Red

Three Colors: Red ★★★★

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Oscar-nominated romantic mystery drama in which a model discovers her neighbour is keen on invading people’s privacy. Starring Irène Jacob and Jean-Louis Trintignant. In French with English subtitles.

Red is the final instalment of the Three Colours trilogy and it’s also the final film to be directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski – and the final product results in a very decent conclusion to the franchise and the director’s career.

The story concerns casual model Valentine (Irène Jacob) who encounters an emeritus judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and lives in her district after she runs over his dog. To begin with, the judge handouts Valentine with the dog, but her selfish boyfriend refuses to let her have it.

When she goes back with the dog to the judge’s home, she finds him eavesdropping in on his fellow citizen phone discussions. In the beginning, Valentine is really annoyed, but it isn’t long before her conversations with the judge over his conduct leads them to form a bizarre friendship.

Irène Jacob gives a very good performance in her part as Valentine, the smart model who doesn’t like the judge to begin with because of his activities, but then forms the unlikeliest of bonds. She suits her role very well and definitely makes the most of the time she has on the screen.

Elsewhere, there are decent performances to be had from Jean-Louis Trintignant, Frederique Feder and Jean-Pierre Lorit in their respective roles as Le juge, Karin and Auguste. Le juge is the retired judge who is the owner of the dog, while Karin is Auguste’s girlfriend and Auguste is the student neighbour of Valentine’s.

The direction from Kieslowski is very good because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a tense atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a decent standard by the director and Krzysztof Piesiewicz as they make the movie good to follow.

The camera stands out best in terms of the technical aspects, because it very makes good use of the locations and also captures the tense and dramatic moments well, which get the edge-of-the-seat status.

This film was selected as the Swiss entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but it was disqualified in controversial circumstances.

Even though that Red does feature a large Swiss cast, was filmed in Switzerland and also co-produced by the Swiss national board, The Academy ruled that it qualified as a French production, not Swiss. The film’s distributor, Miramax Films, requested that the Academy let the film have an opportunity of getting nominated, but they refused.

On the other hand, Red did manage to win 3 Academy Award nominations: Best Director (Krzysztof Kieslowski), Best Original Screenplay (Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz) and Best Cinematography (Piotr Sobocinski).

At the British Academy Film Awards, the movie got recognised for Best Director (Krzysztof Kieslowski), Best Actress (Irène Jacob), Best Adapted Screenplay (Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz) and Best Film Not in the English language. The Golden Globes also recognised Red as one of the best Foreign Language Films of the Year.

However, the latter two nominees I disagree with, because the only criticism I have would be the pace, as this can be a little slow at times, so maybe the duration didn’t need to be as long as it was.

Overall, regardless of the sometimes-slow pace and little too long duration, Three Colours: Red is a very satisfying ending to the trilogy, due to the very good performance in particular from Irène Jacob, along with the direction, script, cinematography and tense atmosphere.

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