Thursday, September 25, 2008

THREE COLORS: RED (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1994, France) RED is the color that courses through our veins, it is the connective tissue between every living animal: a lonely woman, a vindictive Judge, or a whimpering dog. It is both passionate and diabolical, reflecting the love’s embrace and its emotional tempest. I believe Kieslowski also means it to represent our karmic debt, our responsibility not only to other creatures but also to some unknowing, uncaring faceless creator. It is also the color of the lonely Valentine, involved in a relationship with an angry and possessive voice who spits his venom through the phone, who holds her emotionally hostage with words and accusations. Her relationship with Kern, a retired Judge, is disconcerting at first: he seems to exist in his own insular reality, a vampire feeding off the secret conversations of his neighbors. But Valentine returns to his home seeking understanding and Kern redemption: he is inspired to reveal his crimes to the police and suffer the Justice he once meted out as Judge. Through their frequent encounters, they become emotionally entwined and Kern soon begins to seek his own salvation through her happiness. He knows Auguste is a spurned man, a ghost of his own former self whose life is reflected upon broken glass, because he listened to his conversations. Kern plays god (the ultimate Judge?) by subtly manipulating events to ensure that Valentine and Auguste have a chance encounter and the possibility for a deep love…a chance never allowed him. Kieslowski immerses the characters and environment in varied reds that carry subliminal meaning: from Auguste’s Jeep to a twenty-foot tall mural of Valentine, a loose sweater, a doorway, or dog-eared notebook. The film’s tumultuous climax connects the two couples from BLUE and WHITE but leaves their involvements undefined; it also brings Auguste and Valentine together captured forever in a 4:3 frame. And The Judge watches this on his television: who but god would create beauty amid needless destruction? (A)

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