“Three Colours: Blue” Film Review
By Dima Saqfalhait
“Now I have only one thing left to do: Nothing.
I don’t want anymore friends, belongings, love. Those are all traps.”
I am not quite sure what it is, it could be Juliette Binoche’s exquisite talent and charm, or Krzysztof
Kieślowski’s skilled camera work and attention to details, but I have never seen a film that makes
sadness look as beautiful as Three Colours: Blue (1993) does. Blue is the first of three films (the other
two being White (1994) and Red (1994)) that make up the Three Colours trilogy. The trilogy is based on
the French Revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
I remember watching this film for the first time 10 years ago, when I was still acquainting myself with
Kieślowski’s works while reading his memoire Kieslowski on Kieslowski (1996). I remember being
mesmerized by the worlds he creates in his films. The nostalgic, beautifully sad atmosphere, and the
charming women who act completely oblivious of their own charm was such a dreamy combination to
use in cinema. Both if which apply to this film.
Blue narrates the story of a French woman (Julie) who loses both her husband and daughter at the very
beginning of the film in a car accident in Paris, where she is the only survivor. However, it is not a story
about loss, as much as it is one about dealing with loss. Kieślowski says that the film is about emotional
liberty, rather than social or political one. When one loses everything dear to one’s heart, where should
one go from there. Julie tries to commit suicide before she realizes she cannot just do it. She tries to get
rid of everything beautiful left in her life, selling furniture, moving to a new flat, and having an affair with
a man who’s been hopelessly in love with her for far too long. At some point, it feels like she wants to
get rid of everything beautiful in her life. She is rejecting her familiar life, deeming it unworthy of living
without the people she loved most.
Julie Vignon: Why are you crying?
Servant: Because you’re not.
What’s beautiful about the film is how slowly it brings Julie back to reality and how it reminds her that
the lost past may not be as glorious as she imagines, neither is the present and future as horrific as her
mourning self makes her believe it to be. It is all done in a subdued manner.
It is as if the film’s beauty is screaming at you in the face, but in a low voice. Julie mixing coffee with ice
cream in the cafe, taking long swims in the chilly evenings, hanging a beautiful blue chandelier in her
empty new living room as the only souvenir from the past, these are all sad scenes, but are, regardless,
Sometimes, post trauma fear makes us unable to see things for what they are. We think the past is too
beautiful and the future is too dreadful because we are afraid to act. Only once this glorified image is
shaken can one see reality for what it is. Mourning and loss are necessary for healing and should not be
rushed at any expense. But, at the chance that one is tired of mourning, life steps in to reveal itself at its
Our hearts at LIFF go out to all people dealing with loss right now. Whether they lost a loved one, a
house or simply the feeling of security. Life does move on, and regardless how impossible it feels, we all
possess inside us what it takes to pick ourselves up and continue this journey, gracefully, till the end.
For more film quotations and recommendations, you can follow Dima Saqfalhait’s Instagram account
Julie (Juliette Binoche) is haunted by her grief after living through a tragic auto wreck that claimed the life of her composer husband and young daughter. Her initial reaction is to withdraw from her relationships, lock herself in her apartment and suppress her pain. But avoiding human interactions…
Release date: September 8, 1993 (France)
Director: Krzysztof Kieślowski
Music composed by: Zbigniew Preisner
Cinematography: Sławomir Idziak
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieślowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Sławomir Idziak, Agnieszka Holland, Edward Żebrowski