Three Colors: Blue (Trois Coleurs: Bleu) (1993)

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski

The first of the movies that make up the Three Colours trilogy begins with tragedy: a woman loses her husband and child in a car accident. The loss causes her to retreat inward. She becomes withdrawn, quiet, almost frozen emotionally.

In a sense, she too dies in the accident that propels the story forward – the colour blue seems to represent death, or winter – the blue of a dead body, or the blue of ice, of night. (This may be a bit of a stretch, but that is the sense I took from it.)

But the movie Blue is about liberty and Krzysztof Kieslowski’s exploration of this idea is very personal and intimate. It is this liberty, or freedom, that the colour truly represents (though on other levels it represents death and so on).

The character of Julie, played perfectly by Juliette Binoche, has retreated from life, become frozen emotionally. It’s a kind of freedom in that she chooses (though how free a choice is following a tragedy is debatable – it may be the freedom is more in how long we choose to remain in a place like this).

But life eventually draws her out as it keeps calling to her, though not in obvious ways. Despite the wintry isolation she chooses, she can’t truly be alone because she has been alive, part of a social group (her family, now gone), and the mere fact of life creates connections with other lives, and they continue to pull on her.

There is a sense, then, that freedom is conditional and perhaps, more importantly, it has degrees. The freedom of isolation is no freedom at all. It only has meaning to the degree that we are involved in life and, if we are involved, perhaps freedom is not what we truly want. We need involvement but involvement with others curtails our freedom.

And, to make it even more convoluted, there is a sense in the film that the less free we are the more free we become. It is only when Binoche’s character returns to the world, reassumes certain responsibilities by becoming involved again, limiting her personal freedom, that she is free to be alive once again.

Three Colours Trilogy

© 2002 Piddleville Inc.

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