Three Color Trilogy


Three Colour Trilogy. Kieslowski. Twinlensfilm. Available:

During my seminar with Pascal we were presenting our ideas for our Fashion Film, Mine being Colour and Emotion Pascal recommended I watched the Three Color Trilogy, which I had never heard of. The film, made by Krzysztof Keislowski is a three part film split into Blue, White and red. The sequence in which the films were made and released mirror the french flag, which i find very clever. The reason behind the themes to the film are based on the meaning behind the flag, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Three Colours Blue-

Three Colors: Blue (1993) Poster

Three Colours Blue. Krzysztof Kieslowski. DVD Cover, IMBD. Available:

 I started with Blue. the first in the 3 part film. I can’t deny I got a little emotional watching the film, The main character, Julie broke my heart after she discovered her Daughter and Husband had died in a car accident, the very one she was also in and survived.

The film follows Julie’s recovery and life after the deaths that ruined her life and it’s very gripping. Julie’s husband was a very well known composer and while her mission is to forget the terrible things that has happened to her and move away and live in complete confinement goes to plan for a while it’s not long before her past comes knocking and I get the feeling her husband really isn’t going anywhere.

Julie removes herself from her family home, has no job a small amount of belongings and flee’s to Paris, where you see her troubles and triumphs as she slowly begins re build her life.

One main aspect to this film is obviously color. Blue represents calmness, sadness and depression, feelings Julie feel’s immediately after the crash. The director/designers cleverly use hints of blue or big impacts of blue to show the feelings behind Julies experiences. The viewers will see blue almost in every single scene, on the windows, chairs, lense colors and much more. I also found myself looking for things that were blue after a while.

Other blue objects included a folder, the way the camera panned onto it made me think it had some sentimental value to it but it was not in the possession of Julie herself, we later find out the blue folder contained images of her husbands pregnant mistress who she tracks down.

The blue chandelier was very prominent in one of the scenes, shortly after Julie was released from the hospital and returned home she prompted her staff to ensure all blue rooms had been removed, which they replied yes. She headed into one room where she saw this beautiful blue chandelier the sun reflecting off onto the ceiling and her face and then suddenly she grips it very tightly before breaking parts of it off, which makes me feel as though she wants rid of any blue that will remind her of the pain she is going through. We see the chandelier again later in the film after Julie has moved to Paris, this was one of few items she took with her.

There is an almost sex appeal to the film, Julies husband has a mistress, which allows us to create a vision in our head that he could have been a sex maniac or that his relationship with his wife wasn’t intimate but her sexual life reignited with her husband’s friend shortly after he died, Julie was very dominating and seductive during this scene which I did not expect, I also noticed Julie had a hint of blue in her wedding ring and wore it quite often during the film.

One night when Julie is trying to sleep we see a reflection on her face and body of a blue light, only when she closes her eyes and when she opens them, it disappears. Julie finally managed to drift off to sleep and as she does the blue light fades, this makes me feel as though she is pained when awake and when shes trying to sleep and the paint will only stop momentarily while shes asleep.

The sugar cube was an interesting scene for me, I didn’t really understand why there was so much focus on a simple sugar cube so I decided to do some research and I found an interview with Krzysztof Kieslowski and he said ‘What does this obsession with close ups mean? Simply that we are trying to show, the heroines world from her point of view. To show that she sees these little things, things that are near her by focusing on them. In order to demonstrate that the rest does not matter to her, shes trying to contain, to put a lid on her world and on her immediate environment. There are a few details like this in the movie. we made a very tight shot of the sugr cube sucking up the coffee- to show that nothing around her, matters to her. Not other people, nor their business, nor the boy, the man who loves her who went through a great ordeal to find her. She just does not care. Only the sugar cube matters and she intentionally focuses on it, to shut out all the things she doesnt accept'[ Via YouTube.

He also goes on to talk about why this shot was so important, to the fact his assistant spent all day testing for the right sugar cube. This scene showed Julies denial, a denial to the music she could here, to the main who loves her and to the man she made love to after her husband died. She wants to remove all of this stuff she denies. She doesn’t want to think about it so her focusing on the sugar cube and the camera focusing to shows this. I now understand the scene and I truely think its a creative and deep way to show such emotion.

The next major scene I enjoyed was Julie in the swimming pool. As Julie is swimming she begins to hear her husbands music playing and she submerges herself in water in a bid to drown out the noise but it did not work. She will never rid herself of her husband or her child.

During the last parts of the film Julie visits the swimming pool again and I noticed she swims laps width ways rather than length ways, which annoyed me a little. I also interpreted this as she goes the wrong way about forgetting things/moving on from her troubles.


Three Colours White-


Three Colours White. Kieslowski. IMBD. Available:

To watch the beggining of this film, most viewers will be confused as I was. A suitcase moves boringly along a converyor belt that you would see in an airport, seemingly having zero meaning to the film. however, this suitcase would be the defining moment for the protagonist in the film, Karol. This very suitcase would take its last Journey from Karol’s marrital home where it will be slumped onto the streets of Paris by his now ex wife. The suitcase remains close to the character during most of the film with him begging for money from it, sitting on it and more importantly, being stuffed inside it to return back to his home land, Poland. While I initially overlooked the need for this entry scene, after continuing with the film I found it to be a rather good prop. It was like he always had that connection to being in Paris, with the woman he loved and that the suitcase had always meant something, it was the way he managed to return home, back to poland.

The first time we meet our protagonist karol, we see him pacing through Parisian streets after being summoned to a divorce court. The camera only shows his feet, which I really like. This kind of scene will be in the start of my film also as I feel it adds a bit of mystery before we finally meet out character. I watched another YouTube video where Kieslowksi was interviewed and he said ‘what is important is that he is stamping his feet, he is not walking. He is in a hurry, he is going somewhere but, He is clumsy, the way he walks, the shows he wears, the unnapealing coat. His clothes are lacking elegance, thats a euphemism. All that was really important to us, the main reason was to place him in appropriate surroundings, a place where he does not fit’ [2. Kieslowski. YouTube.]

The next scene was as he was approaching the entrance to the courts, he swiftly made his way up the steps before the camera switched to a close up of his feet on the steps. This was when we noticed the pigeons fly away and one land above him on the roof. There was a scene later on in the film where he pictures his wedding day and the scene looks very similar so I just assumed this was a memory of his however, after watching the interview above, Kieslowski mentioned how this scene was deliberate and that it mentioned a ‘theme in the film of humiliation[2. Kieslowski, YouTube], something the character suffered with on several occasions during the film. The pigeon pooped on the character, after he looked up at the bird almost admiring it, he then changed his emotions once the bird pooped on him. This, after watching the whole film mimics Karols wife dominique, she humiliates him even when she knows he adores her, like her adored looking at this pigeon. Throughout the film he is humiliated so I recodnise this theme.

His wife, Dominique, a beautiful blonde woman wishes to divorce him on the grounds their marriage was not cosummated. Karol had not satisfied his wife since their wedding day, something she felt she could no longer live with, As Karol is polish, and in a french court I feel as though he did not have a fair hearing, I feel as though a theme within the film could be immigration equality and during the interview with kieslowski, he mentions that ‘the film is about equality. He also adds that men are not and do not want to be equal’ [2. Kieslowski, YouTube] 

After they are declared no longer husband and wife, dominique throws her now ex husbands suitcase out of her white car, this is the first time I have noticed what will be a reoccuring motif in the film (Although in blue, I feel as though I saw a lot more colour in the beggining compared to white) He is left alone, with no home, no money and no means of survival. He travels to a train station, which we later find out is opposite his ex marital home. He befriends a man, who talks of suicide and how he could take Karol back to Poland. We see Karol, egstatically tell this man about his now ex wife, when he points to a window, draped in white curtains (Motif re appearance) he see’s her shadow and then the shadow of another, he is instantly heartbroken and decides to ring her telephone, which in the twist of events, she was expecting. The theme comes back again, Karol has to listen to his wife humilate him,  even through a telephone by allowing him to hear her having sex with another man.

The colour white to me, represents purity, something neither of the characters are in the film. If anything, Karol is depressed, dark and sometimes irritable. After hearing his wife having sex with another man, he throws his belongings out of the suitcase, which are all white and throws them onto the train lines, he then gets into the case where his new accomplice asks if he could last hours in there, well he must have agreed because the next time we see him, he is being thrown down a snowy (white motif again) garbage dump in Poland after the suitcase was stolen by corrupt airport workers. The conveyor belt scene is replayed just before this, which makes the viewers finally reliase why this was a reoccuring scene.

The locations in the film vary. The beautiful Parisian streets to the dark trainstation, the illuminating hair salon, deserted dump yard and the dark, cold streets of Poland. All the locations I feel represent a feeling in the film. The Parisian streets show that he does not really fit in, the train station mimics he is going somewhere but not quite sure, the illuminating hair salon back home shows his content and happiness to be hom ewith his brother, the deserted dump yard where he was robbed and attacked shows the horror but also the comical/joy Karol feels to finally be home, he does not seem to care he has been robbed and beaten and finally the streets of Poland, his home, his work areas all look dismal and broken but as soon as Karol begins to earn money he is in swanky offices and his home looks incredible.

The scene is which is replayed a few times of Karol and Dominques wedding I feel is to remind the viewers that this was the pivitol moment of the failure of their relationship. Even though it looked beautiful, the camera panned down an empty church and it made me feel empty, the white veil of the dress slowly flows into the frame before a close up shows Dominique half smiling.

I also found that after the men discovered Karol, they robbed him of his watch and wallet. They seemed pleased with his watch being Russian, which makes me think that something so worthless to a man in paris could be worth a fortune to those in Poland, Almost showing how the other half live. As the film was shot in 1994, I assume it mirrored the social, political and religious happenings of the time. I imagine poland was a very poor country 21 years ago with the state of some of the buildings and places we saw in the film. Later on in the film, we see him making a lot of money by spying on top business men, which could show how he can be considered very wealthy in Poland but if he was to take the money to Paris, we would be considered poor. As he starts making money we see his image change dramatically, he slicks his hair back, wears nice suits and huge trent coats. he mirrors a wealthy business man, although I can only assume he is doing it to impress Dominique.

We see Dominique occasionally during the film, she always enters a hotel room and as she walks away from the camera she dissapears into darkness, we later see the full clip. Karol has earnt all this money to leave to Dominique before he fakes his own death, with his power he finds an unidentifiable corpse, managed to obtain a fake passport and accomodation in hong kong however this was not his full plan. Dominique is rushed to Poland after hearing the news of her ex husbands passing and learns she inherits everything in his will, she returns back to her hotel after the funeral which is where we see the full scene, she heads into the darkness and suddenly the light switches on, we see Karol sat there and a close up of Dominique in dis belief. Karol has infact framed his ex wife for his death, making it look like foul play. He makes love to his ex wife before leaving her and she is later arrested. I have to admit, I was not expecting this ending. I did not expect the story to get so dark and manipulative but he was out for revenge after the woman he loved humiliated him.

The final stages of the film show Karol spying on his wife in the yard of a prison, he removes the binoculars from his eyes and a close up shows the tears running down his face, I feel as though he regretted his decision but he now has to live with it. One more note I remebered during writing this anylisis was how the main character in this film wanted to get away and start fresh and the same happened to julie in TC:Blue and I think this may also be a reoccuring theme in the next film.

Kieslowski. YouTube. Three Colours White. Available:


Three Colours Red-


 Three Colours Red. Kieslowski. Film Poster. The Quiet front. Available:

Three colours red was extremely bizzare to me, I was more aware of the storyline in both blue and white however, Red floored me a little. The film starts with a telephone, the camera then follows the electrical cords for the next few seconds, the camera goes into water, underground and you can hear odd conversations throughout.

The camera then goes onto a character, a man, leaving his home with his dog. You notice what will be a reoccuring motif, the colour red. This is evident in furniture and lighting. I noticed a lot more red during the opening of this film than I did with Three colours white. This man is Auguste, a young law student. As he leaves his apartment, you see red viechles driving round the streets and then the camera glides over to another building, where we hear a telephone ringing again.

We then meet the next character, a young woman who looks very similar to Juliet in Three Colours Blue. She is on the telephone with her boyfriend, who is in England. She seemed very happy to hear his voice but I found him very controlive. Our Protagonist, Valentine is a model and she also participates in Ballet.

Valentine is driving home one evening when she accidently hits a dog, a german shepard. This dog will be the pivitol moment in the film as she tries to return the dog to its owner, this is the moment she meets an old man who lives just outside of Paris, he seemed uninterested that his pet dog, Rita had been ran over. He seemed very alone and sad.

Valentine decided to care for the dog herself before Rita makes a run for it, she is then made to return to Joseph’s home, where she is met with a disturbing chain of events. Joseph is an ex court judge (MOTIF- Judges appear in all three films for some reason), as the film goes on you will see the chain of events that are happening to Valentine and Auguste, even though the two had never ever met yet live within arms reach of eachother AND often are in the same place at the same time, are very similar to Josephs story. Is this just a coincidence? or is this fate?

Joseph is a very bored, nosey old man who spends his time listening in on his neighbours phone calls. He’s a stalker. Guilt, Judgement, Betrayal, Truth, Himiliation and love tend to be some re occuring themes througout the film, as well as blue and white. Valentine feels guilty about things, she felt guilty knowing joseph was listening in on peoples conversations, guilty that she ran over a dog, she loves a man whos controlling.

I found myself growing increasingly confused during the film, I could not put my finger on the exact story line. I much prefered the first two films to the last. The ending of the film is very similar to a scene that had already been seen by the viewers. Valentine boards a ferry to England but the boat is ship wrecked during bad weather, the final image we see of her is extremely similar to the image taken by the photographer in the early stages of the film. The background of the final scene is red, but its a red coat, which looked very similar to the red coat Valentine had at the beggining of the film which she said belonged to Michel.

One last note about the ending, every person they found alive from the disaster was from the movies. You had Juliet, Karol, Dominique, Auguste, Valentine and others, why? that confused me. The film is very much like a puzzle. the locations, the music, the camera angles all confuse me.





















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