Starring: Irène Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant Directed by: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Of the Trois Couleurs trilogy, I do believe Krzysztof Kieslowski saved the best for last.

Red is powerful because it is understated and deliberate.  Normally red signifies power, fire, passion…bold forces that impetuously sweep through with sound and fury (such as Dominique from White).   The main storyline in Red actually unfolds very simply.

Valentine (Irène Jacobs) meets an older man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) with a seemingly indifferent outlook on everything after she accidentally hits his dog with her car.   He tells her to keep the dog, but it ends up running away from her in the park and leading her back to him.  The bond that develops between Valentine and this man – a former judge – is very subtle.  It develops over time, like a Polaroid photo, rather than emerging in a flash.

Red explores other types of relationships – shades of romantic, familial – but primarily at a distance. Valentine's boyfriend is traveling abroad, so their only connection is through a phone calls.  The Judge listens in on his neighbors' calls, which contain both conversations with illicit lovers as well as conversations between a young couple who are very important to the storyline as well without even knowing it.

Even more than the other two films in this trilogy, Red really stood out as artistically spectacular, particularly in visual composition:

  • Lighting: the sun through a window, the sunrise through a gate, traffic lights blurring against the night, spotlights highlighting models on the catwalk, silhouettes in the dark.
  • The storyline of Valentine's neighbor Auguste (Jean-Pierre Lorit), often in her periphery but an integral part of the overarching tale.
  • Valentine herself as both glamorously poised and emotionally vulnerable, bringing a different kind of beauty to both.

I wonder if this movie would have been as good if I hadn't seen the other two.  I certainly wouldn't have found the ending quite as entertaining, but I can't say for sure if the context is really necessary.

Overall, I would like to thank Daniel Ferreiro for insisting that I watch these films.  Even if I did not love Blue, I certainly did like White quite a bit and absolutely loved Red.

If you:

  • Like a story within a story
  • Like visually striking cinematography
  • Like the idea of a non-traditional love story

Put it in the queue!

If you:

  • Don't like symbolism
  • Need a drama to be REALLY dramatic
  • Don't like dogs

Don't put it in the queue.

Written by Jennifer Venson