Trois Couleurs : Rouge | Three Colors: Red (Polish: Trzy kolory. Czerwony) (1994) is the final and most haunting of the Three Colors Trilogy, which is co-written, produced, and directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski; this film is preceded by Blue and White.
Red is the warmest of all three films, which stems from the main theme of the colour red of the French flag– fraternity (or friendship). Although I enjoyed all the films in the Trilogy, Red was my favorite of the three.
Irene Jacob brings a wide-eyed innocence to her role as Valentine, a student and part-time model. She is in love with an emotionally distant man, Michel, who is residing in England. He is constantly suspicious of her, and tries to control her actions, for instance, telling her when to go to sleep.
Valentine lives across the street from a young law student studying to be a judge, Auguste, who is in love with a woman who provides personalized weather forecasts over the telephone. Throughout the film, Valentine and Auguste are shown in the same location, yet never meet in a string of missed opportunities.
One night, while Valentine is driving home she accidentally runs over a German Shepherd named Rita. She discovers the dog belongs to a retired court judge named Kerm, an elderly man who is a natural cynic and proves that the world is not what it seems by tapping into this neighbors telephone conversations. Valentine and Kerm set forth on an intense journey finally concluding that we are all connected in a world of disorder and confusion.
As in the previous two films (Blue and White), a single color dominates the film. Many objects in the film are bright red, including the huge advertising banner featuring Valentine’s facial profile. Several images recur throughout the film. Characters are often placed side by side on different physical levels. The scenes between Valentine and Kerm at his house never show the characters on the same level: Valentine either stands above him or sits below him. When Karin searches for Auguste, he hides on a walkway below her. During the climactic scene in the theater, Valentine stands on the stage, towering over Kerm who is in the pit below. Telephone communication is important throughout, and so is broken glass (when Kern reveals his eavesdropping, his neighbors throw rocks through his windows, and the end of the film Kern watches Valentine and Auguste on the news while watching the outside world through broken glass). Also, when Valentine is bowling, the camera moves down the line to where there sits a broken glass next to a packet of Marlboro cigarettes, which is the brand that Auguste smokes.*
Each films’ ending scene is of a character crying. In Blue, Julie de Courcy cries looking into space. In White, Karol Karol cries as he looks at his wife. In Red, the judge Kerm cries as he looks through his broken window out at the camera.
Side note: Kieślowski had announced that this would be his final film, which unfortunately proved true with the director’s sudden death in 1996.
Awards and Recognition
Nominated for three Academy Awards:
Best Original Screenplay
Cannes Film Festival, Palme d’Or (nominated)
National Board of Review, Best Foreign Language Film
New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Best Foreign Language Film
National Society of Film Critics Awards, Best Foreign Language Film
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, Best Foreign Film
Zbigniew Preisner won the César Award for Best Music.
César Award nominations: Best Film
Best Actor: Jean-Louis Trintignant
Best Actress: Irene Jacob
Best Director: Krzysztof Kieślowski
Best Writing: Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Red was selected by the New York Times as one of “The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.”
Irene Jacob: Valentine Dussaut
Jean-Louis Trintignant: Joseph Kern
Jean-Pierre Lorit: Auguste Bruner
Frederique Feder: Karin
* Information extracted from Wikipedia