Three Colors: Red

Three Colors: Red ★★★★★

My Top 100 Favorite Films - #45


Red is the third and final installment of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy. The film is about Valentine (Irène Jacob), a university student and model, who accidentally runs over a German Shepherd named Rita. Valentine contacts the owner of Rita, a retired judge named Joseph Kern (Jean-Louis Trintignant), which becomes the start of a beautiful friendship that transcends their generational gap. We also discover that Joseph's past shares many similarities to the present-day life of a young law student named Auguste (Jean-Pierre Lorit).


The main themes of the Three Colors trilogy has been as such: Blue has liberty as its main theme; White has equality, and Red has fraternity. You could say that Red in that sense shares some similarities to The Double Life of Véronique, and I wouldn't disagree with you. Not just because both films have Irène Jacob as their leading actress (she also delivers another stellar performance here) and characters that share an inexplicable connection, in this case Joseph and Auguste, but also because they show the importance of human relationships in a simple and effective manner that never feels overly preachy, but instead as down to earth and wonderfully immersive as you can do so.


Red has been described by Roger Ebert as not just an anti-romance, but also as the best of the entire trilogy. I'm not sure if I'm ready to make that statement myself yet, but it excels mostly because it combines the best elements of both Blue and White, while still bringing in its own identity to the table. It has the immersive slow-paced direction and mood-driven cinematography of Blue, even if Piotr Sobocinski (R.I.P.) had not yet worked on any of the previous films in the trilogy. It also has a story that is direct and to the point, showing us characters that are equals, but more sympathetic here in Red. What makes Red stand out in a positive light is its display of two characters gaining an understanding of each other, thus allowing them to fraternize spiritually. Sure, the symbolism of the color red and the dog being the connective tissue between Valentine and Joseph is not the most subtle use of symbolism, but it still works wonders as a compassionate means of establishing a connection between our characters and the passionate emotions that are stirred over the course of their interactions.


In conclusion, Red is an immaculate finale to one of the greatest trilogies, if not the best, that I have ever seen so far. It is a compilation of all the best aspects of Kieslowski's work as a director, but also a highly emotional film that reminds us that we should appreciate the relationships and friendships we take for granted more than we already do.

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