Tuesday, November 12, 2013

867. Trois couleurs: Rouge/Three Colors: Red (1994)

Running Time: 99 minutes
Directed By: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Written By: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Main Cast: Irene Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Lorit, Frederique Feder, Samuel Lebihan
Click here to view the trailer


Man, I even warned myself at the end of my review for "White", not to let myself get too hyped up for the finale to the "Three Colors" trilogy, or else I'd only be setting myself up for disappointment. A nasty cold (which I still have) kept me from anticipating it too much (hard to think about movies when you can barely breathe and sleep eludes you), however, "Red" came with a heap if disappointment for this viewer.

The main character this time is Valentine (Jacob), a woman who has the world on a string. She's a student of dance, a model of fine clothing and the girl who appears on the billboards, in the middle of busy streets. She maintains a long distance relationship with her boyfriend Michel and she's always bright eyed, polite and ready to tackle the world. One day, while driving home, she accidentally hits a dog with her car. She goes to the home of the owner of the dog and tells him what she's done. The dog's owner is a former judge, Joseph Kern (Trintignant), and he doesn't really seem to care that his dog's just been injured. Valentine leaves the house, gets the dog looked after and then takes her home, deciding to just go ahead and keep the dog for herself. Later, circumstances lead her to meet up with the judge once again, where she returns the dog and finds out that the judge has a hobby of listening in on his neighbors' telephone conversations. Valentine tells him how despicable his activities are, but Kern doesn't really seem to care about anything or anyone. The two continue talking and eventually Kern sees the error of his ways. Meanwhile, Valentine's neighbor, Auguste (Lorit), also shares some of the film's focus, as his relationship with an over the phone weather girl is chronicled.


I hadn't had a proper night's sleep in three nights. The cold, that initially resided in my throat, decided to get a divorce, with half going to my head and the other half taking the kids and going to stay with it's mother, in my chest. I'd wake up at all hours of the night, coughing, hacking, sniffling, sneezing and peeing (hey, bladder's don't take time off for cold's), then I'd turn around and get up at around 6ish to go to work. So, it wasn't out of the question that since I was off today, that last night I'd decide to take a big, slightly oversized dose of NyQuil and get the Zzz's I so desperately needed. So I woke up this morning, after a night of no tossing, nor turning and ready to have a go at a movie. So maybe it was that slightly oversized dose of NyQuil that made me a little loopy and ultimately led to my dissatisfaction of "Red". I doubt it, but have to make heads or tails of this. I mean, we were so damn close to having such an amazing trilogy of films and then...kaput! And, not to mention, "Red" is the most acclaimed of all three of the "Three Colors" films. So why didn't I like it?

Okay, I did kind of LIKE it, but compared to the other two, I didn't like it at all. Maybe it had too much of a plot. I mentioned before that "Blue" really didn't have much of a plot at all; simply a woman trying to heal after the death of her family and that for my money, "Blue" is more about mood and atmosphere as opposed to plot. Then you've got "White", which has a plot that I relied on, yet it wasn't too intricate and it was really basic stuff. Then there's "Red" which doesn't focus on just one character (like the other two films), but rather, several characters and has a more intricate plot than the other two, by far. Not to mention the fact, that I really didn't fully understand everything that was going on in "Red", especially the ending. Why do all of the main characters survive the ferry crash? Why does Kern's life seem to mirror Auguste's?

I did some perusing of the IMDB message boards and found one poster's answer, that I liked the best: Perhaps all three films are just dreams of the Kern's? Now normally, I'm not a fan of the "it was all a dream" defense unless it makes a LOT of sense, but I think it does here. For starters, Kern DOES mention something about a dream he's had to Valentine, near the end of the picture, so obviously his dreams are at least a little bit significant here and obviously we know he has vivid dreams. There's also the fact that "Blue" focuses on one character (Julie), as does "White" (Karol), yet "Red" is the final culmination, the one where we actually meet the dreamer and therefore focuses on a few characters (Valentine, Auguste and the dreamer a.k.a. Kern). Also the theme of color seems to have this theory make sense too. How many times have your dreams been bombarded by a certain color? You wake up and you can't remember much, but "damn, the color red was all over that dream" or "wow, there was a girl and...and...well there was a lot of blue". I don't know...

At this point, I'm just talking out of my ass and probably trying to have it all make sense so that I can just accept this as one of the greatest trilogies ever produced. And I just really really wanted to love this one and I didn't. It didn't make complete sense (to me anyway) and it was too busy (especially considering "Blue" and "White"). Perhaps a rewatch someday will spell a better fate for "Red", but for now call this one the worst in the trilogy, with "White" being the best, with "Blue" trailing at a very close second.

RATING: 6/10  So still a good rating, but I opted to focus on the negatives, instead of any positives because I was SO disappointed with this one. Should've been a '10'.


November 12, 2013  11:01pm


  1. You have probably been thinking "Where is ray's comment on these three?"
    Sorry, a mixture of things.. I've been busy or distracted at home, and.. I'm sorry Andrew.. I've been seeing another blogger (Whaddyamean, you have known all about it?).
    Anyway, please take this as covering all 3. (I'm a bit surprised they didn't lump all three together as one film.. if they can make us watch three toy stories for just one tick...)
    You know, somehow I'm struggling to recall most of the detail and impression i had of 'Red'. I can clearly recall 'White', and blue is almost as clear...
    Excuse me, I may have more to say about this, but something has just cropped up, and i have to go..

    1. I was wondering where you were, yes and was about to go and knock on Amanda's door and ask if I could please have my comment machine back. Only teasing. I'm happy that you have found another blog to pour your terrific insight onto. Thanks for coming back though, was getting lonely around here.

  2. Red follows on the same theme of The Double Of Veronique, White is Kieslowski's favourite because it's a love story and Blue is a hommage to... well, who cares really? No. This is impossible. If only a box with buttons on it could, in any possible way, make one person stop for a moment their hectic life and think. I mean, really think about what they are doing with their life. But the red levers need lifting and the green handles need rotating and no one has the time these days and ladders in the cage have yet to be climbed quickly.


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