How free are we in the most intimate area?

Case study of the Three colors: Blue with Slawomir Idziak. It is the first film in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s trilogy loosely based on the French tricouleur, blue, white, and red, standing for liberté, egalité, and fraternité. Krzysztof Kieślowski won Golden Lion for the film at Venice Film Festival, the film was nominated for for 3 Golden Globes. 

Julie (Juliette Binoche) loses her husband, Patrice, well-known composer, and their young daughter, Anna, in an auto accident and she must begin life anew. She decides to become anonymous and totally independent, and she deliberately cuts herself off from everything that she has possessed so abundantly before. Olivier (Benoit Regent), Patrice's young assistant, has always loved Julie. To try to bring her out of her isolation, he decides to finish the "Concerto for Europe," that had been left unfinished at the composer 's death. We follow Julie step by step in her efforts to avoid the traps which threaten her liberty.  

Blue remains an intense and moving tribute to the woman at its centre who, in coming back from tragedy, almost refuses, but ultimately accepts the only real love that's on offer.


In Blue, Julie learns to redefine freedom as any action that liberates her from memories of her dead husband and daughter. The subjectivity of her emotional reasoning is conveyed by a deft use of blue filters in several scenes where Julie is alone. Intriguingly the external world of business and family is often seen through a dull yellow filter. As Julie begins to reengage with the world, the way in which Kieslowski and his cinematographer, Slawomir Idziak, employ this colour scheme changes. Blue ceases to become the colour of Julie’s depressed state, but a sign of hope, a reawakened desire to create and, most importantly, a signal to live life fully rather than simply exist. Individual freedom is nothing, Kieslowski argues, without hope, a sense of purpose beyond mere survival or simple empathy toward others.

"There is colour in the title. The film could have been made predominantly blue, but it seemed to me that it would be more interesting to use the colour so that it would build the drama. For years I have looked at colour from more than just an esthetic perspective. After all, there is more to colour than that. Blue is associated with cold, with death, it is a dangerous colour, a colour of night. It obviously has some psychological significance. That's why I believed that it should be connected with special moments in the film. A number of factors determine colour in film: the kind of light or filter, the costumes, the set design. You can paint the walls blue or ask the light describer in the laboratory to copy in this colour. It is like with colour in architecture: it is the material, the paint, the light combination which is decisive. I - and my colleagues - look for non-standard ideas in my work. I look for my own way and method. I am known for my use of filters, of which I have quite a collection."


Directed by: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay by: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Benoît Régent, Florence Pernel             
Cinematography:  Slawomir Idziak
Music by: Zbigniew Preisner        
Edited by: Jacques Witta  

France | Poland | Switzerland
98 minutes