Three Colors: Blue ★★★★★

There is so much that can be read into so many of the films of Krzysztof Kieślowski that, to the outsider or uninitiated, they must seem overly complex and quite possibly completely impenetrable.

Of course, the reality is that is not the case at all. Kieślowski's real genius, for me, was his ability to infuse his films with so many different allegories and visions that he invited the viewer to watch his films in so very many different ways. That is why, when you read reviews of so many of his films, they so often differ in what they have taken away from that viewing.

There is one constant with them, though, and that is that they are really rather good. The beginning of the Three Colours trilogy sees Juliette Binoche, the wife of a reclusive but brilliant composer, trying to deal with the death of him and their young daughter as she is the only survivor of their car crash. It's certainly the darkest of the three films but one that is filled with beauty and lightness nonetheless.

What I took from the film is that this is, quite simply, about a woman who simply does not want to grieve and she is desperate to fight it at every turn. Obstacles thrown in her path that nearly send her over the edge are never hugely melodramatic but they are just enough to have you believing that THIS is the juncture at which she will break down.

What I love about the story most particularly is that Kieślowski rarely has her character react to situations in the ways you would see her react in practically any other film. The kids jumping in the pool, the old woman struggling with the bottle bank, the mouse, the woman who hands her a petition to get rid of the prostitute living in their building - the answers we are all given are disarming, refreshing but never feel deliberately contrary.

More than ever this film also left me wondering if there is a better living actress than Binoche. Much has been said about how the camera practically falls in love with her as this film progresses (you can't blame the bloody thing!) but she is more than just a collection of close-ups on her amazingly expressive features. Her performance is flawless and she carries what is not an easy film to carry almost completely by herself.

Three Colours: Blue is as steeped in messages and complexity as you want it to be. But you don't get a say in its brilliance.

Steve G liked these reviews