Starring: Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy, Janusz Gajos
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Running Time: 92 mins
Three Colors: White (Trois couleurs: Blanc) is a French/Polish film and the second in the Three Colors trilogy. After being thrown out into homelessness by his ex-wife, a Polish man sets out to get revenge.
Following on from the emotionally unsettling first instalment that was Blue, we now move onto the slightly lighter (in the loosest sense of the word) sequel: White. In truth, this is a sort of black comedy, but again, it’s not really at all about laughs, it’s a dark story about revenge and a quest for redemption.
The Three Colours trilogy is based on the French motto: ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’, and, this being the second film, we get a dosage of égalité. However, instead of it being an uplifting tale of great political equality, Kieslowski’s story in White is one that goes right to the depths of despair before it can give you any sense of ‘happiness’ at all.
Personally, I prefer this sequel to Blue, on the one hand because it’s a little less morose and abstract, but also because I was much more emotionally invested in what was a hugely intriguing story. Initially, it’s a desperately upsetting sight to have this poor man be thrown out by his horrible ex-wife, but the direction that Kieslowski took the story in was far more interesting than anything I could have imagined.
The film follows a Polish man named Karol Karol, and his attempts to get back at his ex-wife, and it has an oddly similar vibe to films like The Godfather and The Long Good Friday. By the end, it’s both a fascinating crime story as well as an emotionally investing drama, because you have that first act where you sympathise so much with this man that, despite his methods being ultimately somewhat questionable, you will him on from start to finish.
Now, this being Three Colours: White, it has a prevalently white look to it. Throughout, the sky always appears white, some scenes are set against the icy background of rural Poland, and what that lends to the film is a strongly refreshing tone, as if we’re experiencing some sort of new beginning where there is no darkness.
What I mean by that is that we have a man who’s at the lowest of the low, and yet when the white imagery begins to appear on screen, we see his tale of redemption begin, and yet when the film gets darker, and moves away from the story of égalité, we lose that white cinematography, which I thought was another very clever directing choice from Kieslowski, but one that personally had more impact that Blue did.
Overall, I enjoyed Three Colours: White. It’s a dark comedy that tells an often uplifting story of redemption; with great cinematography and direction, it’s an impressive film too, and that’s why it gets a 7.6 from me.