Three Colours: White – 1994

Firstly, I highly recommend watching these films in a short period of time, while I evidently have not watched Red yet I feel that at least these two films need to be seen together.
The overriding theme remains love, but in this film we see love countered with hate instead of grief. There is obsession, manipulation and fear but still an overriding love. The main couple is estranged after a failed marriage; the film explores the strange nature of this emotional connection once it is twisted and gone astray. While it is in many ways a revenge narrative, it plays more as a story of acceptance. Acceptance not only of the faults of others, but of your own faults. In many ways this theme is more aptly illustrated through the subplot, two strangers who find a strange trust and unity in their mutual despair (featuring a lyrical performance from Janusz Gajos as the suicidal saviour of our protagonist) than in the main narrative.

The colour scheme is once again astonishing, yet somehow ironic. White, so traditionally a symbol of innocence and purity is here one and the same with revenge and malice. Cinematographically the whole film seems almost over-exposed, ethereal even, too bright, too pure, as if it is hiding something. Which in fact, it is. The beauty of the film hides the hideous tangle of motives which lie in every character. The love shared by the couple (Zbigniew Zamachowski and Julie Delpy) hides their damaged minds from scrutiny even during their most elaborate and cruel schemes. The ruin is self-evident but it is masked by the glamour of grace.

Despite being more challenging thematically this is a far more light-hearted film to watch than Blue. There are elements of dark humour and irony, light relief from the unadulterated sadness of Blue. The performances are sensitive and realistic throughout despite the absurdity of situations. Language is seen to be the barrier between hearts, the most cruel tricks played on each lover are played in a foreign language, they are isolated even further than they thought possible in their ruin. The camera never falters from its measured grace and poise yet the film does leave its visual imprint in the mind as a swathe of whites and pastels.


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