Three Colors: Red

Three Colors: Red ★★★★★

Almost 100% sure that Matthew McConaughey’s grizzled cop in True Detectives got his idea about time being a flat circle from Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Red.

A wonderfully moody and melancholic study of fate’s capricious nature. Kieslowski concludes his trilogy with probably the densest, most elliptical, most narratively challenging, and most emotionally ambiguous of the three films. It is a beautiful portrait of lonely people at the whims of life’s cruel tendencies, trying to make the best of whatever circumstances their luck has bestowed them with.

Irene Jacob plays Valentine, a fashion model, in a long distance relationship, living by herself in a modest little apartment. Her partner, who’s always off-screen, is clearly insecure. She must constantly reassure him of her fidelity. A horrible coincidence brings her into contact with Jean-Louis Trintignant’s Joseph Kern, a retired judge also living by himself in a shabby old house. Much to Valentine’s chagrin, Kern spends his days eavesdropping on his neighbors’ intimate and secret conversations. What follows is a powerful analysis of incredibly tough feelings like guilt, love, regret, solitude, pity, anger, empathy, and betrayal.

Frankly speaking, Red is a very very confusing film; but not in a bad way. It’s not convoluted or muddled. Instead, it’s hard to make sense of what latent memories and sentiments it is triggering within you. This is a very abstract film; allowing the viewer to extract a myriad of different meanings from the film’s gorgeously composed frames that are constantly, creatively and often subtly draped in the titular color. Frames inhabited by actors who give performances that are so nuanced and layered that anyone can project their own life experiences on their photogenic faces. And then there is - just like in Blue and White - the majestic score, once again composed by Zbigniew Preisner, that tells a story of its own.

All in all, Three Colors: Red is like a slow acting poison that gradually seeps within your soul, infecting it with a very pure and unadulterated strain of humanity. Combined with the previous two entries in the trilogy, Red makes for a comprehensive portrait of the tumultuous complexities of earthly existence.

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