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Film: Three Colors Trilogy

Critically-acclaimed trilogy of French/Polish drama films directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski (also the director of The Decalogue, Blind Chance, and The Double Life of Veronique), and released in relatively close proximity to each other in 1993 - 1994.

They are named after the three colors in the French flag; blue, white and red, and each has a corresponding color motif. They are each loosely based on one of the three French revolutionary principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. The trilogy are also interpreted respectively as an anti-tragedy, an anti-comedy, and an anti-romance.

Trzy kolory. Niebieski (English: Three Colors: Blue, French: Trois Couleurs: Bleu) (1993): Based on the principle of liberty. After a famous composer dies in a car crash, his wife Julie (Juliette Binoche) retreats into seclusion, but various contacts and issues in the outside world force her to emerge again.

Trzy kolory. Biały (English: Three Colors: White, French: Trois Couleurs: Blanc) (1994): Based on the principle of equality. After the beloved (French) wife of Polish hairdresser Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) divorces him thus rendering him destitute, he makes it back to Poland, manages to make it big by blackmailing his bosses and then schemes to extract revenge on his wife.

Trzy kolory. Czerwony (English: Three Colors: Red, French: Trois Couleurs: Rouge) (1994): Based on the principle of fraternity. College student and part-time model Valentine Dusot (Irene Jacob) runs over the dog of retired judge Joseph Kern (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who spends his days eavesdropping on neighbors' phone calls. The two end up becoming friends.


Blue provides examples of:

  • Author Existence Failure: Patrice.
  • Babies Ever After: An example with a curious twist, since the pregnant woman is the mistress of Patrice.
  • Fade to Black: Used to represent Julie’s difficulty to go on.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold
  • Leitmotif: The piece (supposedly) composed by Julie's husband keeps appearing at different times. Depending on the situation, the music comes different.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Julie performs a lot of simple actions with bombastic as background.
  • Nice Guy: Julie is a female example. When she lets go of her angst, she helps a lot of people on her way, even providing her husband’s mistress and her unborn baby with Patrice’s old home.
  • Offscreen Crash: Though we do see the car smashed immediately after.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Except that it’s greek.
  • Playing Cyrano: Though it’s not outright stated, it’s implied that Julie could be the writer of her husband’s music.

White provides examples of:

Red provides examples of:

  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Valentine’s boyfriend. He’s not that crazy to commit a crime, but is very jealous.
  • Intergenerational Friendship
  • Man Child: Valentine’s boyfriend.
  • Not So Different: Auguste’s life is very similar to Joseph. Fortunately for the former, his meeting with Valentine at the end of the film means his life probably won’t be the same as the judge (and maybe will turn out for the best).
  • Platonic Life Partners: Valentine and Joseph. The age gap might have something to do with it, although he says to her: “Perhaps you’re the woman I never met”.
  • Sliding Scale of Cynicism Versus Idealism: Valentine’s idealism vs Joseph’s cynicism. He ends up moving across the scale at the end, though.

The trilogy as a whole provides examples of:


Sex MissionPolish MediaThe Astronauts
This Is Spinal TapRoger Ebert Great Movies ListTokyo Story
This Is Spinal TapCreator/The Criterion CollectionThrone of Blood
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre IIIFilms of the 1990sToy Story

alternative title(s): Three Colors Trilogy
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