Praised as one of the top films of the year by critics and audiences alike, this stylish and provocative mystery delivers captivating performances and stunning imagery! Academy Award(R)-winner Juliette Binoche (Best Suppor... more »ting Actress, 1996, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, CHOCOLAT) is a young woman left devastated by the unexpected death of her husband and child. She retreats from the world around her, but is soon reluctantly drawn into an ever-widening web of lies and passion as the dark secret life of her husband begins to unravel. With each startling discovery and heart-stopping surprise, BLUE is sure to entertain you from beginning to end!« less
David Montgomery | davidjmontgomery.com | 05/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Blue" is the first film in Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy that examines life in contemporary European society. Each of the three films corresponds to a color in the French flag and a segment of the French national motto. They are "Blue" (liberté), "White" (egalité) and "Red" (fraternité).The theme of liberty runs throughout "Blue," but it is a cruel, unwelcome liberty. The husband and daughter of Julie (Juliet Binoche), a young French woman, are killed in a car accident at the beginning of the film. She, of course, is devastated. She briefly considers suicide, but is unable to go through with it. That would take an intensity of emotion-grief, loss, despair, something-that she simply does not have. She is so cold inside that she can feel nothing at all, not even sadness. (Blue, after all, is the coldest color of the spectrum.) In one telling scene, Julie comes upon her housekeeper who is weeping profusely. "Why are you crying?," she asks her. "I am crying," the maid replies, "because you are not."Julie decides that her only course of action is to free herself completely from her past. She sells her house and all of her possessions and moves to an apartment in Paris where she knows no one and no one knows her. The only thing she keeps is her daughter's blue bead lamp, a colorful focal point in her drab, spartan quarters, and the only reminder of her lost life.Before she can leave, though, Julie must give herself one final test. She seduces Olivier (Benoit Regent), a rather dull former colleague of her husband's who, not incidentally, is in love with her. They make love on a solitary mattress in her empty house, but she feels nothing. Perhaps she really is incapable of love. Having confirmed her suspicion, she walks away without even a backward glance.Julie's disappearance, however, is difficult. Her late husband was a famous composer and they both remain the subject of media interest and gossip. It is rumored that Julie actually wrote his music herself, and it is true that the sounds of his last, unfinished work haunt her throughout the film. No matter where she goes, she cannot escape his (or is it her?) music because it lives within her mind and her soul. Occasionally the action is stopped completely and the screen fades to black, accompanied by the fortissimo sounds of his last, farewell concerto. It is an interesting, risky device, but it works well in conveying the dislocation, the sense of forever being apart from others, that Julie feels.In the most interesting twist in the film, Julie meets her late husband's mistress, Sandrine, (Florence Pernel), a woman she did not even know existed. Sandrine is pregnant with his baby, a shocking revelation, but Julie does not hate her for it. Rather, she is remarkably generous and kind, just as he had always promised Sandrine she was. All Julie wants to know is, "Did he love you?" She answers her own question, though, when she spots the cross hanging from Sandrine's neck, the same beloved gift her husband gave to her.Kieslowski takes his time in telling his story. Things do not happen quickly, nor are events momentous when they occur. The pacing is slow and languorous, but certainly never boring. Unlike most movies made today, this is a quiet, subtle film. Kieslowski and his cinematographer do a lot with the lighting, particularly in the scenes in the swimming pool. Those shots are awash in soft, evocative blue hues that give the scenes an exquisite, dream-like feel.The performances by all of the leads are splendid. Juliette Binoche is truly a marvelous actress. She was so good in Godard's "Hail Mary" and Malle's "Damage," and she is even better here. Her character does not say much, nor does she take much dramatic action. Most of what we learn about her comes from staring into her sad eyes and regarding her troubled face. She is able to convey so much, not with broad strokes or grand gestures, but with intricate nuances and careful expressions. It is a performance to treasure.As I watched "Blue," I was reminded of another excellent French production, "Un Coeur en Hiver," that also dealt with painful music and the tragedy of a cold, unfeeling heart. The similarities are subtle, but I think both of these films demonstrate one quality sorely lacking in most Hollywood pictures: maturity. The average major studio release is targeted at the core demographic of 14 to 24 year old males, not exactly the most discerning audience around. This strategy results in a lot of dreadful films being made. Fortunately for those of us with a more highly developed aesthetic sense, there are films like "Blue" around to satisfy our longings."
A brilliant shade of "Blue"
David Montgomery | 09/02/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Director Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Blue" is the first of a trilogy of films which take their title from the colors of the french flag (blue, white, and red) and their theme from the French motto of "liberty, equality, fraternity." In this achingly beautiful interpretation, liberty comes as the result of loss. The film opens in a shroud of bluish fog, as Julie (Juliette Binoche), her husband Patrice and their young daughter are on a car trip. Because of the fog, the Alfa Romeo continues to go straight when the road curves, and the car collides with a tree. Only Julie survives. Although her bandages and bruises disappear rather quickly, Julie's emotions take much longer to heal. The rest of the movie is an eloquent, moving look at how she deals with the aftermath of her loss, from the seemingly trivial annoyance of finding mice in her new apartment to the discovery that her husband had kept a mistress for years.She tries to repress her emotions by freeing herself from her past: she sells the contents of her country estate and moves to a small apartment in a section of Paris where no one knows her, signing the lease with her maiden name. All she brings with her, besides books and clothes, is a chandelier of dripping blue crystals, a prism which refracts the past. As one would guess from the title, the color blue washes over this movie, tinting it with melancholy. But more striking than the film's use of color is its music. Patrice was a famous composer who was writing a concerto to celebrate the unification of Europe at the time of his death. Although Julie destroys his notes after his death, his secretary had made a copy and sent it to his partner, Olivier (Benoit Regent), who is now working to complete the unfinished symphony. Throughout the movie, whenever Julie's emotions well up within her, strains of the concerto flood the movie -- the screen goes black so the viewer, too, focuses only on the music, which seems to express at once both the anguish and release that Julie feels.Through Kieslowski's cinematography and Binoche's subtle facial expressions, the viewer is immersed in the understated emotion of the film -- an immersion that does not end when the credits roll, for the film leaves a few issues unresolved that make it, like its main character, such a captivating enigma. END"
Kieslowski's "Blue" period
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 02/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blue is the color of sadness and depression. And "Blue" ("Bleu") is the first film in the celebrated Colors trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Accompanying the rich "Red" ("Rouge") and sharp "White" ("Blanc"), this is a beautiful and haunting look at grief and getting past it.Julie de Courcy (Juliette Binoche) and her family are in a car accident when their brakes fail. Julie is injured, but her composer husband and their daughter die. She can't bring herself to commit suicide, but neither can she just go home and get over it. So instead she leaves her palatial house in the country after a night with her husband's old friend Olivier (Benoît Régent), who has been in love with her for years.Julie arrives in Paris with nothing but a blue cut-glass lampshade, takes back her maiden name, rents an apartment, and tries to leave her old life behind. Though she says she doesn't want love or friends (because they are "traps"), she befriends a promiscuous young woman and is pulled back to Olivier when he starts to finish her husband's unfinished work. In turn, Olivier reveals to her the side of her husband she never knew -- the other woman he loved.The Colors trilogy is based on the colors of the French flag: Blue, white and red, standing respectively for liberty, equality, and fraternity. In this, Julie is unconsciously seeking liberty from her past life and her grief. This grief is shown beyond mere tears and unhappiness. She rakes her knuckles over a rough wall, rips off a strand off the hanging lampshade, as little ways of showing her inner turmoil. At the same time, the revelations about Julie's husband raises questions about their marriage and about Julie herself. The powerful music celebrating the EU pops up periodically, often when Julie experiences strong emotion. At times, the screen goes dark, and the overwhelming, soaring symphony is all you can detect. And as Kieslowski does in "White" and "Red," this film is sprinkled with color and symbolism. Blue crops up in little dancing bars of light on Julie's face, in her clothing, a swimming pool, in rain-slicked windows, a misty blue morning and a lollipop.This may be Binoche's best performance. Her expressive eyes and subtle facial expressions convey every tormented or peaceful emotion that Julie feels. One of the best shots in the entire movie is the final one, in which we see Julie, unhappy and tearful, slowly starting to smile. (She also is shown weeping underwater, something I've never seen before) Régent seems rather colorless beside Binoche's reverberating performance, but his quiet, sweet Olivier is an underrated character.A harrowing, beautiful and ultimately romantic film, "Blue" brims over with pathos and beautiful direction. A true piece of cinematic art."
Three Colors Blue A Masterpiece
RFD | Albany, NY | 04/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blue is the first part of the Three Colors trilogy which I believe will be regonized as the finest cinema event of the 1990's. Blue is the most remote of the three pictures in that it deals with the loss of loved ones, and the isolation it brings.To be totally free is to lose your identity. Kieslowski was wise to cast Juliette Binoche in the role, for no actor today can convey such feeling and intensity with such subtlety.She posesses the greatest pair of eyes in cinema. This film could be silent, and you would understand what this character is going through. I agree that you may have to be in the right frame of mind to see this film, and Red may be the warmer, friendlier movie, but I found Blue to be totally devastating, and to truly appreciate the other two films, you must see this one first.Caveat: Miramax released this film in standard format, and all the films need widescreen format to be truly appreciated. Hold out for the DVD. In fact, look up Miramax's home page and demand it!"
True Liberty In Blue
wickedlollies | Sydney, Australia | 06/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Liberty (as defined by the Australian Oxford Dictionary); is the right or power to do as one pleases, or the right or privilege to do as one likes granted by authority. "Three Colours: Blue", is the first movie of a trilogy created by renowned French claimed director Krzystof Kieslowski. `Blue' is the first colour in the French Flag, in which the tricolour series represents France's Motto: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (Blue, White and Red). The story is an account of a woman who loses her husband (whom is an international composer) and daughter in a car crash. The story depicts Julie (Binoche) trying to free herself from the world after the tragic accident. It's like she intends to `spiritually' commit suicide from the world, rather than physically. She attempts to rid of all her old possessions, contacts and knowledge of her previous life, as she goes to sell her house, destroys items from her marriage and address books. As she creates her new life on her own, people from her previous life and people that have arrived in her new life do not let her let go of her true self - one that is generous, caring, needing and wanting, and draw her back into the real world. The liberty is shown in this movie is not one of national pride, or unto the way a nation acts to having liberty, yet it's the way a single person is able to have liberty in their own lives. Both the writers of the movie, Krzystof Kieslowski and Krzystof Piesiewicz, have publically stated "we wanted to show what liberty means to us today, who allready possess liberty. Therefore, in Blue, liberty is not treated in a social or political way ... but if we talk about liberty, we mean individual liberty, the liberty of life itself." Binoche not only portrays this liberty so well, but also makes it personal. She creates a character that many would feel is heartless, one who does not want life; one who takes things for granted and is arrogant. Yet the audience grows upon the character of Julie, when Oliver (Regent) refuses to let her discard her previous life. Binoche wants to make it personal for the audience; she wants to create a character unto which people can relate to, yet at the same time be repelled, because of early actions and hate from the terrible loss she encountered. As the film develops deeper into her being, it is impossible to not feel sympathy and emotion towards the truthful and `real' Julie. Binoches' performance in `Blue' is undeniably simply wonderful. Her performance nearly amounts to making the film a one-woman film. Kieslowski got very sensitive in the way in which he depicted a woman's grief and loss. Binoche seems quite suited to these films, just as we have seen in some of her other works such as `Chocolat' and `The English Patient'. There is a lot of emphasis in this film on the use of expression and the actors' actions, rather than dialogue. In this sense the audience can get closer to the actors, and in this case, getting close to Binoches' emotional facial expressions, we are drawn in nearly intimately to feel and detect her deepest thoughts. It is also the cinematography that creates the emotion and runs the movie through so smooth. Intimate moments, such as a sugar cube dissolving in a warm coffee, a feather moving by breath on a blanket, the fuzzy views looking at manuscripts, help the audience delve into the life that Julie has created for herself and the liberty in it. That is; the choice to be where she wants to be, doing what she wants to do, yet at the same time, others having the liberty to impose on her life and create the story of the film. The use of the actual colour blue is not only just in the movie title, yet is a dramatic tool which the creative directors have used to create various climatic moments with intense musical presence (similar to that of which Julies husband composed). The movie is largely blue-toned, where many of the objects and hues of light within the frame are of a blue colour. For example, the many scene's in the swimming pool, the little girls blue lolly wrapper at the beginning of the film, the blue crystals, and the many times blue light would stream across the actor's faces. Interpreting the use of the blue light is mainly directed back to the idea of liberation, yet there may be more underlying meanings of what the colour blue may represent. Whether it's used for its meditational qualities which helps calm the drama of the happenings, and help to sensitise the grief Binoche experiences, or whether it may possibly behold political undertones, unto which it all relates back to the first colour upon the French flag, it is upon the viewer to truly decide and decipher what the blue-tones defines for them. The film "Three Colours: Blue", is one that is truly rich with emotion, sympathy and dimension. It can be read in many ways, which opens the possibility for many viewers to truly grasp the story, and take it on board. As a part of a trilogy, this film really does stand on it's own; being one that depicts a real, heartfelt story, and portrays true liberty."