Sunday, November 10, 2013

BONUS REVIEW: Trois couleurs: Blanc/Three Colors: White (1994)

Running Time: 92 minutes
Directed By: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Written By: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Agnieszka Holland, Edward Zebrowski, Edward Klosinski
Main Cast: Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy, Janusz Gajos, Jerzy Stuhr, Aleksander Bardini
Click here to view the trailer


Still waging war with "Old Man Winter" in the form of a pretty nasty cold (which can't decide whether it wants to reside in my head or in my chest and for now, is content with hanging out in my throat), I pop in the second of Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy - "White". Remember, "White" is NOT in the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book and I'm only reviewing it here for completist purposes and because, why not?

This time around, our lead character changes from a woman to a man, as we zoom in on Karol Karol (Zamachowski), a Polish born hairdresser, who moved to France when he married French citizen Dominique (Delpy). At the film's beginning, the two are waging war in the courtroom - going through divorce proceedings, Dominique arguing that the marriage was never consummated. Long story short, the honeymoon is over and Karol Karol is broke as a joke, with nowhere to go and no money to get there. He lands in a subway terminal, where he wraps a handkerchief around a comb, making an effective kazoo and trying to earn a few coins to get a hot meal or maybe, just maybe, a warm bed. He is approached by a fellow Pole who offers to help him get back to Poland. The two make friends and when all is said and done, Karol decides to stowaway inside of a trunk and pretend to be luggage on a flight from France to Poland. Not without a hitch, Karol makes it back to Poland and to the location where he practices his hairdressing skills. He's still down on his luck, tired and worn out, but he has plans to get back on his feet. And that, my friends, is the movie: Karol Karol's journey from makeshift kazoo player to self made millionaire - all the while, never forgetting his long, lost love Dominique.


In my review for "Blue", I said that the film lacked a certain enjoyability, but still managed to win me over with it's artistic integrity and a somber mood that appealed to me. With "White", the tables turn, as the enjoyability factor is cranked up a few notches, with Kieslowski and fellow writing collaborators focusing less on establishing a perfect atmosphere & mood and more on developing a worthwhile plot, while letting the artistry fall to the wayside. That's not to say that the film doesn't play host to more than a handful of beautiful shots, fine performances and a certain vision that Kieslowski surely had, but only to say there is a much more prevalent plot, whereas "Blue" wasn't really plot driven. Anyway (ramble ramble ramble) I totally enjoyed this and I might even say I liked it just a little bit more than "Blue". I totally clung to the Karol character and wanted to see him succeed, at all costs. The story goes that Kieslowski re-shot the ending to make Dominique seem like less of a monster and in my view, that didn't quite work out, as I still left the film not caring much for her character and thinking she got everything she deserved. In fact, speaking of the ending, that's one of the major flaws here, as I didn't care for the whole thing with Karol going to the prison and having a sign language conversation with Dominique. It just didn't work for me.

However, it's not a major gripe and I can totally live with it. Who doesn't love a good underdog story and it's french too, which is just gravy. Coupled with "Blue", I'd have to say that these two films together have me extremely excited to see "Red", the most acclaimed of the "Three Colors" trilogy.

RATING: 8/10  Gonna' go a smidgen higher with "White" and here's hoping "Red" totally knocks my socks off. I should probably lower my expectations a little bit, so as not to be disappointed.

November 10, 2013  5:33pm

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