Three Colors: Blue


Drama / Music / Mystery / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 98%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 93%
IMDb Rating 8 10 71053


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March 05, 2018 at 08:18 AM


Juliette Binoche as Julie Vignon
Julie Delpy as Dominique
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807.65 MB
25 fps
1hr 38 min
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1hr 38 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by nycritic 10 / 10

Liberty as Freefalling Through Life.

For a film about mourning, there are two moments in Krsyztoff Kielslowski's THREE COLORS: BLUE that seem divorced of anything that is happening at first glance. Both are seen through the impersonal medium of a television. The first occurs early in the film: as she recovers from an automobile accident which claimed the life of her husband, composer Patrice de Courcy, and her daughter Anna, Julie is given access to witness their funeral, but as she turns the channel, there is an image of a man bungee jumping. It will be seen again when Julie visits her mother (played by Emmanuelle Riva) who lives in a home, disconnected from the outside, watching television. This image of a person seen in free-fall against a pale blue sky (blue is indeed prominent in this film) seems to mirror Julie quite well: her loss has given her an empty outlook on life. She wishes to do 'nothing', to just exist, divorced from human contact. However, that same cord which is a life-preserver will eventually pull her back.

It's the slow but sure pull of the cord that Kieszlowski wants to tell in this beautiful but tragic story. In Juliette Binoche he has found his muse. With that face that expresses a complex set of emotions and her internalized body language that at times threatens to break through outbursts (as when she plays a piece of the concerto for the unification of Europe her husband was creating and suddenly slams the piano, or when she leaves her house carrying only a box and almost mauls her first against a stone wall). She cannot feel and is trying to make herself do so, but realizes it is better to just be, without ties, love, meaning.

BLUE is filled, almost drenched, in subtle meaning which grows stronger at every frame. Kieslowszki's bungee cord begins to make its presence at every subsequent scene. The box Julie is seen carrying contains a mobile which formed a blue sphere -- her only link to her daughter. The musical score, which in one scene she had ordered destroyed, makes its appearance in none other than the streets of Paris under the sad flute of a deadbeat who says, "We all must hold onto something." People inevitably come into her life -- for what reason we aren't told up front, but there is the feeling of matters left unresolved and new elements which will force Julie to come full circle and finally open herself to herself.

There are three sequences in which Julie immerses herself in water. Water allows herself to go under, to dive into what she has been avoiding for some time now. In one scene, she is seen in a fetal position as if this is a return to her primal state of floating -- free-fall -- and is "safe". However, the next-to-last time she swims she is confronted by her new friend and neighbor Lucille (Charlotte Very) who is an exotic dancer working in the red-light district in Paris (note the implicit link to RED) and then she, and we, hear the noise of little children who all jump into the pool dressed in reds and whites which make her instinctively recoil and maybe cry. After all, this is an oblique reference to Anna and she may not be ready for this kind of information. The memories come back (even when we do not see them) and even correlate to a decision to have a neighbor's cat kill a litter or mice in her apartment because she needs complete aloneness.

But this will not happen: there are still serious matters which she is about to discover and Lucille, the least involved person in Julie's tragedy but whose progressive insinuation into Julie's life, similar to Valentine's reaching out to the old judge in RED, will be the link to facing them.

Music is also an important part of BLUE, and whenever Julie is about to make a decision that will take the story to the next level we hear the haunting Preisner score which permeates the entire movie as its soul. American films don't seem to give music such a prominent position in a film, quite possibly because there is always the element of consumerism that is at the heart of every movie -- even serious films. European films, I've noticed, have a different approach to storytelling. BLUE is a very oblique mystery contained within itself from WHITE and RED, but one that demands listening to as well as subsequent views: it opens and reveals its petals very slowly and contains a surprise at the center of its bud, one that again, American film-makers would not have known how to resolve unless there was some form of catharsis and maybe even violence. Not here: for a movie that gives music and its relation to a truly spellbinding mystery, BLUE and its score are stunning, particularly at its climactic sequence where all of the people Julie has crossed paths with are seen in one last, flowing shot -- Emmanuelle Riva's being the most emotional, seen reflected twice in what can only be a haunting death scene, or is it? -- and returns, full circle, to another reflection of Julie, and Julie herself, open, and weeping in an enigmatic, Mona Lisa smile, free at last.

Reviewed by clintswift 10 / 10


Often times when viewing an intelligent film like this I have to really contemplate what the implications the film maker making mean to me. This film was no exception. Kieslowski, with his background in non-fiction film making, is applying the french political value of liberty to a personal situation. He is, in essence, studying the human condition through fiction. The meaning of "liberty" takes on a very different meaning for Julie in this film. She tries to gain liberty from her memories and her emotions only to find that it is an impossible task. This is not a film to casually throw on after supper. This film requires a commitment by the audience to really consider Kieslowski's implications, for he is telling us (throughout this trilogy) what he thinks makes a "good" person. The score is beautiful and has a character of its own in the plot. A must see for true film lovers but perhaps a little too much for someone expecting a casual encounter.

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 7 / 10

'Blue,' 'White' and 'Red' represent the apotheosis of European art cinema just at the moment when its very existence seemed most uncertain…

"Three Colors Blue" is the first part of Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy… "Blue" is set in France, "White" in Poland and "Red" in Switzerland, but all production was based in France… Not only are the colors of the trilogy those of the French national flag; the original intention was meditation on the ideals of the French Revolution: freedom, equality and fraternity… This suggests a political dimension to the work… But though like most Polish filmmakers Kieslowski had his difficulties with the Polish Communist system, its collapse by the early 1990s meant that he was not only free to work where he pleased, but liberated from the necessity for his films to engage directly in the political process…

In "Three Colors Blue" Juliette Binoche plays a woman whose husband and daughter are killed in a car crash… Overcome by melancholy, she progressively withdraws from life, depriving herself of possessions and refusing relationships, a state of mind conveyed in part by the director's subtle use of color blue… But eventually she is able to accept the attentions of a lover and even to offer friendship to another woman who is pregnant with her husband's child… Finally, she completes the piece of music which her husband has been commissioned to write…

The result is a work that has less in common with the Polish 'Cinema of moral concern' of the late 1970s than with the tradition of the mainstream European art cinema, in its concerns with alienation and the loss of feeling, countered by the transcendent power of love…

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