51 Great Directors: Krzysztof Kieslowski

“If I have a goal, then it is to escape from this literalism. I’ll never achieve it; in the same way that I’ll never manage to describe what really dwells within my character, although I keep on trying.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Three Colors trilogy.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Dekalog 6.

What Did I Watch: The Three Colors trilogy.

Where Does He Fit: Three Colors Blue is of course designed to be the most self contained of Kieslowski’s trilogy, but Juliette Binoche’s face contains the whole world in this. (Holly Hunter in The Piano vs. Binoche: a hypothetical Best Actress battle for the ages.) How the man managed to make the first fifteen minutes or so feel like something desperately awful and epic in and of themselves is a real feat no doubt helped by the Dekalog accentuating his skill for pacing. It’s nowhere near as blue as you’ve heard in both feeling and color: green with envy is also the color of choice.

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White has gotten some flack over the years for being the weakest of the trilogy. My official response: “I guess?” Yes, it’s operating in a deliberately lightweight Dekalog 10 mode, but is that really such a bad thing when you have an actor so perfectly suited for this brand of comedy? The notion of equality gets the heaviest workout of the concepts underlying each entry, even if the other two handle it better just by being more oblique about it. I still find the strange acidity of Julie Delpy’s performance and that dour score to be perfectly fitting into the weird world of Kieslowski.

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You need a grand finale to tie it all together, and Red accomplishes that perfectly. The most cinematic of colors is at the forefront, but if Juliette Binoche had been a man who allowed her emotional state to continue unfettered, then we’d have the judge. Equality is taken perversely on his end too, but the way the strange little details all seem to come together is the sign of a masterwork. Little details like that asshole dog running into the church then leaving feel like symptoms of something greater. And the ending is the perfect note for any director to go out on.

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Most Valuable Asset: Color and control.
Most Excited For: Camera Buff.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Chris Marker and his cats.

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