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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kieslowski's Die Hard trilogy
Don't let the last review put you off. If you're looking at this film, you won't be expecting car chases and machine guns ... These three films, of which Blue if the first, offer a perfect example of what European film makers do so well and Hollywood does so badly, spellbindingly slow studies of character and situation that draw you in, that you need to relax into like a...
Published on 22 Feb. 2002

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Tries too hard to be artsy showing love to be antithetical to liberty
Julie Vignon - de Courcy a young Frenchwoman (Juliette Binoche) is involved in an accident that will set her on a journey self-discovery. We go along with her and imaging what we would have done.
This is a good film with a message. It is blurred by the attempt to introduce too many details that are trying to reflect ideas that could have been left out or explained...
Published on 24 Jun. 2010 by bernie


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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kieslowski's Die Hard trilogy, 22 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Don't let the last review put you off. If you're looking at this film, you won't be expecting car chases and machine guns ... These three films, of which Blue if the first, offer a perfect example of what European film makers do so well and Hollywood does so badly, spellbindingly slow studies of character and situation that draw you in, that you need to relax into like a hot bath. If you agree that films can be an artform and not pure entertainment, you don't faint at the thought of subtitles and you don't need an explosion every five minutes to keep you concentrating, give these a try.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue period, 7 Mar. 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
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.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberty - enough?, 3 Feb. 2002
When I first saw Kieslowski's TV version of 'A short film about Love' I was amazed by his compassion for every single character in his work. It's the basic humanity of his films that always make me come back to them.
Blue is in essence a very simple tale - a woman loses her husband and daughter and finds it almost impossible to cope. To do so she cuts herself off from the world around her - her liberty/freedom is complete. The question is - is liberty enough? Can any human live fully without the contact of others? During one scene in the film Binoche pays a visit on her mother. In the background a television shows a high wire act. If the man slips, no one will catch him. Kieslowski seems to be saying 'you can be alone, but no one can save you then'.
There is a great deal more to all of his films than can be absorbed in a single viewing. Watch the movie for the outstanding performances by Binoche and Charlotte Very as her neighbour Lucille and the beautifully combination of Idziak's probing, luminescent cinematography and Zbigniew Preisner's searching music. As ever with Kieslowski,less is more, silence speaks volumes and you are,in the end,never alone.
Utterly compelling.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST FILM !!!!!!, 28 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
It is a pleasure for me to be able to write a review of this film. Its beautiful, haunting music impressed me so much that I have since bought, not only the soundtrack, but more CDs of Preisner's music, and I have seen all the films which comprise the trilogy, plus "The Double Life of Veronique" (same director, same composer). I only wish that they could have made more films together. The circumstances, although tragic, result in a courage and determination which is inspiring, and which give answers to the perennial questions as to whether one should continue to attempt to communicate with people, or to withdraw completely, especially after a tragedy, when one is very vulnerable. It's a story of love, of faith and of courage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A grief observed, 17 May 2012
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
My apologies to CS Lewis for my review title, but it perfectly describes this remorseless portrait of a woman`s inconsolable sorrow on the sudden death of her husband and daughter in a car crash.
In his magisterial `Dictionary of Film` David Thomson gives the late Kieslowski pretty short shrift, accusing him of making films that come across as humourless, with a too often "sanctimonious tidiness". While I can see his point, and to some extent sympathise with it, there are other directors - Tarkovsky, for example - at whom such charges might be more jusifiably levelled. It is true that at times the director seems to be standing outside his film, dispassionately dissecting with forensic serenity the neat, nearly tearless grief so admirably portrayed by the young Juliette Binoche in one of her earlier roles - one which must have been important to her both personally and professionally. Her comments, in one of the Extras included in this DVD release, are highly illuminating, giving an intelligent view of the film-making process as well as her relationship with director and cameraman.
This first film in Kieslowski`s valedictory trilogy manages to be intensely moving despite, or more likely because of, its discreet, observational tone. Binoche has always been a soulful actress who nevertheless is recognisably human - by which I mean that not a few French actors, in particular, can appear robotic, indeed humourless, if given a part that requires them to be passive or unemotional, a trap the otherwise splendid Isabelle Huppert falls into at times, to give one example.
Blue is not without a certain hesitant humour, thanks to Binoche`s inherent playfulness, which surfaces amid all the heaviness of grief. There is a telling scene in a public ladies` room when she confronts her late husband`s mistress, which both actresses play with an appropriate restraint which renders their exchange all the more moving.
The final "tableau-montage" is possibly a case of gilding the lily, wrapping the whole thing up a little too neatly, but it also offers a needed catharsis after so much forlorn angst.
This is not, for me at any rate, the perfect work of art some would claim - and why should it be? - but it remains essential, and worth seeing more than once.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding film on so many levels, 28 Mar. 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
The first in Kieslowski's 'Three Colours Trilogy', and a film made remarkable by the quality of its photography and the dominant presence of Juliette Binoche. Kieslowski relates the three colours of the French flag to the mantra of the French Revolution - liberty, equality, fraternity - with 'Blue' the colour of liberty.
Freedom for Kieslowski, it seems, is a haunting responsibility. As a Pole, subjected to political censorship most of his life, he could clearly value freedom. But the political freedom of the West in no longer animated by the passionate demand and popular urgency of the French Revolution; it has given way to complacency, to self-satisfaction, and the self-delusion of materialism. Freedom for Kieslowski is the liberty of life itself, the freedom to choose.
And Juliette Binoche is stripped of her ability to choose. As the film opens, she is merely a fellow traveller in life, occupying a car with her daughter and husband, carried along by her husband's fame and image. We are shown the dripping brake fluid, we know what is about to happen. Binoche survives. Moments before the crash she had everything - wife of a world famous composer, a beautiful, elegant, intelligent, talented woman graced with abundant love, family security, happiness, status, material wealth. After the crash, she has to rebuild her life.
But her world continues to collapse around her. She attempts to destroy her husband's final piece of work - a hymn to European union - only to discover that someone else has kept a copy and that one of her husband's friends will complete the work. The hint is dropped that maybe Binoche has actually been the real composer, that she, herself, is well capable of finishing the work, but to do so would be to expose herself, to strip away that final piece of identity she preserved as dutiful wife, mother, and nurturer of her husband's genius.
Binoche flees from the world, trapped in her grief. She has the freedom to choose, but none of the choices she makes seem to liberate her - they merely embroil her deeper in the trap. She has lost everything except her beauty, her elegance, her desirability. And then she discovers that her husband had a mistress.
This is an absolutely astonishing piece of cinema. The cinematography - making full use of blue filters, picking out and highlighting blue artefacts and props in virtually every shot - is enrapturing. The visual images are perfectly complemented by the musical score - the second most important character in the film after Binoche. The music provides poignant punctuation to the action, underscoring crucial moments in the plot, orchestrating the emotions. Kieslowski has a genius for combining music and image.
And la Binoche is astonishing. Juliette Binoche is a quality act - she won an Oscar for 'The English Patient' (and look at her performances in 'Les Amants du Pont-Neuf', 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being', 'Chocolat'). But the intensity with which the film (and the camera) focuses upon her every movement make this one of the most remarkable performances on screen. She dominates the scenes - you sense the iciness, the emotional chill, the pain, the moments of thaw, as she struggles to regain control over her life, her identity, her memories, and her future.
An outstanding actress, outstanding director, outstanding visual and aural experience. An outstanding film. And the DVD provides some excellent extras in the forms of a master class with Kieslowski and interviews with Binoche and others. Outstanding.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 21 Oct. 2001
By 
Ben Samuel (hereford, herefordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Blue is a transcendently beautiful film. Each frame of which is etched lovingly with pain and beauty in equal measure. Juliette Binoche gives a wonderfully understated performance as a widower so profoundly upset by the death of her composer husband and daughter that she attempts to change everything about her life rather than face the pain of her loss. But as she attempts to run away from her pain it haunts her as surly as the ghost of her husband might. His music followers her wherever she goes, blasting it's way into her mind with gentle pain and grace.
The film is stunningly shot. The colour blue creeping in though out the film and appearing ghost like floating across her face or hovering in front of her on a stairway as she attempts to keep the haunting Ballard from her mind. The film is so profoundly complex that I can say, without shame that I do not fully understand it, and I hope I never will. Each time you watch it you will see something new. The film takes multiple viewing just to scratch the surface of its genius, so is well worth the buy. This is truly one of the greatest films of all time and is only comparable by the two companion films in the trilogy White and Red.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good transfer, great extras, 15 Nov. 2001
This review is from: Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
I think Blue is a fantastic, and I've recently got the DVD. I'm not going to review the film here; rather the DVD.
The transfer is good; I'd give it 4/5, the grain is sometimes visable - but it was transfered from a very good print; there's no dirt or screatches.
The extras are great. Binoche's interview is excellent, as are the producer's and the editor's. Kieslowski's masterclass comprises of him remarking on two scenes from Blue. His remarks are, like his films, very engaging. The extras build a cumulative portrait of Kieslowski, which is interesting.
And Presner's compositions are a lovely addition.
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4.0 out of 5 stars trust the pictures, 9 April 2014
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This review is from: Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
"Blue" is at bottom a very sentimental movie, but for American audiences, that sentimentality is perhaps masked by its narrative and cinematic strategies which are very unlike their typical Americam counterparts. Plot, for example, is pretty non-existent in this movie, with its big revelation coming almost accidentally; pacing is relaxed, with the camera lingering on its images for longer than we are perhaps used to; the framing of the images is clearly very considered, and they are a pleasure to look at, even when they seem neutral in relation to the story or the feelings of the central character; and there isn't much dialogue -- basically, the pictures tell the story, as if Kieslowski sees his medium first and foremost as a visual one and trusts it to communicate what's necessary.

A lot depends on Juliette Binoche. She is an actress made for movies, because her face -- and we see a lot of it here -- is unusually expressive. Context helps, of course, but we can almost read what's going on in her mind just by watching her -- in this respect, she is unlike, say, Catherine Deneuve, whose beauty and watchability are very different. Given Binoche's emotional transparency, the need for talk is much reduced. Here she plays Julie de Courcy, a woman devastated by the death of her husband and her child in a car wreck (she too was in the car but survives with apparently relatively minor injuries). The movie traces her movement from her belief that her life isn't worth living to a reattachment to life and to music. The latter is important because it appears that her late husband, a famous composer working on a cantata to celebrate the European Union (EU), perhaps was NOT the composer in the family but that Julie herself was. (The matter is a bit ambiguous -- perhaps they were co-composers -- but Julie's compositional talent is not in question.) Some of the most striking images in the movie are at moments when Julie seems overcome by an auditory hallucination of music -- music in her head -- and it's a token of what is in there to be openly articulated and a token too that Julie's life has not stopped with the death of her husband and child, even though at first she can see no clear way forward and tries to retreat into anonymity. But . . . the life force and the music-force will not be gainsaid, and as the movie goes on, we begin to understand that Julie is temperamentally incapable of being unproductive and disconnected. It's not a question of her having to be argued out of mourning or depression -- she just has to acknowledge that these feelings do not define or limit her. We see her acting with great but unforced generosity to a number of people -- the young man who sees the car wreck, the composer friend of her husband, who has long loved her from afar, the young sex-worker who lives on the floor below and whom the other residents want to force out, and quite amazingly, the pregnant mistress of her husband, whose existence she didn't know about. It would be wrong to say of Julie that she is "understanding," for she doesn't rationalize her generous behavior -- it's just how she is, and when she accepts herself as making these connections (and remains connected to her demented mother, played elegantly in a cameo by Emmanuelle Riva) she is able in turn to produce music and not just hear it in her head.

The music that Julie and/or her husband are composing was written for the movie by the Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner. The finale to the EU cantata, that we see Julie compose, is a setting of the Greek text from 1 Corinthians 13. It has power as music, and it tangentially connects Julie's reawakening to relationship to political circumstances (the "relationships" that constitute the EU), but Kieslowski doesn't play that up too much. The problems that we look to politics to solve hover on the edge of the picture in the predicament of Julie's mother, the glimpse we see of difficulties of aging, and in a violent beating that Julie sees in the street outside her apartment. Kieslowski shows us love in action, but these glimpses show us that love has a lot of work to do -- or perhaps make us think that more than love, or art, or wealth (for Julie is wealthy) is going to be needed in the wider world. Still, it's a "feel-good" movie, and Binoche is wonderful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle And Moving, 1 Mar. 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
This first part of Krzysztof Kieslowski's superb trio of films based around the French flag tricolor (in this case, associated with liberty) is, for me, probably the weakest of the trilogy, and whilst being a subtle, moving and brilliantly shot piece of work by this master director, does not have quite the emotional power of Red or the witty invention of White. It does, though, showcase a subtle and brilliantly restrained performance from Juliette Binoche (indeed, the best I have seen from her) as the film's central character Julie, whose life is torn asunder following the demise of husband and daughter in the film's opening car crash sequence - which provides the film's dramatic opening and is shot in vibrant and engaging style by DoP, Slawomir Idziak, whose work is outstanding throughout the film.

Of course, one of the other major features of Three Colours Blue is Kieslowski's brilliant use of music - again composed by Kieslowski's regular collaborator Zbigniew Preisner and including the central piece for the Unity Of Europe, which in the film Julie's husband (famous composer Patrice de Courcy) has at his death left unfinished. In particular, Kieslowski uses the strident strings of the film's score to punctuate key moments of dramatic development. Similarly, the film's 'blue motif', as well as reflecting the film's generally melancholic air, is liberally (maybe too liberally) sprinkled (visually) throughout, whether it be in the form of the crystal chandelier, folders, book binders, bin bags, lollipops, swimming pool, etc.

The core of Blue is concerned with Julie's attempts at coming to terms with her loss, initially by trying to shut out the past - closing down the elegant house in which she has lived and moving anonymously to a Parisian apartment. There are a number of emotionally charged scenes, such as that where (recovering in hospital) Julie initially attempts suicide, and Kieslowski illustrates the film's liberty theme as Julie will not sign a petition to remove a sex club performer from her tenement and then when Julie, having discovered her husband had a long-standing (now pregnant) mistress, reacts with tolerance and kindness, rather than violently rejecting her (in one of the film's most powerful sequences). There is, therefore, much to commend Kieslowski's film and, despite a feeling that the film rather loses its way during the middle third and does not fully develop some of the characters (e.g. Patrice's ex-colleague, Olivier, who loves Julie), Blue's concluding recapitulation scene, depicting each of the film's key characters before resting on a close-up of Julie's eye is superb.

Also included on the DVD is an interesting set of extras, including a Kieslowski masterclass in which he talks (again) about his uncanny eye for visual detail and an interview with Binoche, in which she reveals she opted for the part in Blue over one in Spielberg's Jurassic Park, claiming she would have preferred a part as one of the dinosaurs rather than opt for one of the female roles on offer!
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Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993]
Three Colours: Blue [DVD] [1993] by Krzysztof Kieslowski (DVD - 2001)
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