Blue (1993)

February 20, 2007

Most of the people I’ve either read or heard discussing this film tended to really like it, which means I’m going to be expressing a minority opinion here, because I was only lukewarm in my reaction. Blue (or in its original French, Bleu) is part of Krystof bleu2.jpgKieslowski’s Three Colors (Trois couleurs) trilogy. I suppose since it’s in French and takes place in France, it’s considered a French film, although Kieslowski is actually a Polish filmmaker, which explains in part why there seems to be a East European feel about it (although that probably has just as much to do with the film’s bleak subject matter). Each film in the trilogy is titled after a different color in the French flag and represents a different ideal of the French motto “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.” Blue deals with the first ideal, liberty.

Juliette Binoche plays the main character, Julie Vignon. After a car accident kills both her husband and her daughter, Julie seemingly has nothing to live for. Failing in a suicide attempt, she proceeds to commit something akin to a symbolic suicide instead – getting rid of all her belongings, moving to an anonymous location without notifying any friends or relatives, and generally detaching herself emotionally from events around her. Soon, however, a series of occurrences begins to pull her out of her withdrawal and to reattach her with some of those former associations she tried so hard to escape.

Liberty is a tricky concept in the film. Superficially, Julie does not seem to obtain the liberty she seeks, since she is still bound up in the old associations she originally wanted to forget. And yet, Julie’s passage to self-discovery opens the door for her to be able to live a life of emotional fullness – something she thought impossible following the death of her family. In fact, the piece of symphonic music that her husband (though it debatedbly may be Julie herself who is the composer) left unfinished is commonly interpreted as symbolic of Julie herself. Thus, only when she has learned more about herself and freed herself from her self-imposed restrictions can any attempts be made to bring this piece of music to completion.

As sometimes happens, the more I’m thinking and writing about the film, the more I’m starting to warm up to it, but the fact is that I was pretty bored while watching Blue. Granted, it’s a film dealing with psychological development and inner emotions – bleu.jpgsomething that isn’t always riveting on the screen – but those are actually the type of films I typically enjoy. I just don’t think this particular one was all that interesting. Even Binoche’s talents, which I appreciate, couldn’t save this film for me. It was almost as if Binoche did such a good job acting detached and emotionless that I couldn’t find any ground to empathize with her and subsequently felt detached from the film itself (how’s that for a backhanded compliment?). I suppose there was enough intriguing material in this film that I might try going forward in this trilogy, but I just haven’t made up my mind yet. The opening installment certainly hasn’t sucked me in.

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6 Responses to “Blue (1993)”

  1. Danny Says:

    Hey Mark, did you catch the UA production of Angel Street last week?

  2. Mark Says:

    Sure did. I was going to write you guys about it beforehand but forgot. Did you see it? Have you seen the film version?

  3. Deni Says:

    I watched Blue but it didn’t impress me enough to send me on to the other films. I might get around to watching them eventually but it would pretty much be only to say that I did…

  4. msteudel Says:

    Sounds like we had about the same reaction to it, Deni. I really did intend to watch all three, but I think Blue’s supposed to be considered about the best of the trilogy – so now I’m just not sure I want to continue.

    On the other hand, I think the other films are supposed to go in completely different directions (like White is supposed to be more of a comedy), so maybe we’d have better reactions to it if we tried.

  5. Niki Says:

    Dear God – finally, a movie that I have actually seen! Miracles do happen. I must say I had forgotten about this one – and I will be pretty happy when it slips back into the obscure and forgettable section of my mind again. I was unimpressed when I saw this (although I did make it through the trilogy) and continue to be unimpressed as I look back with disdain. Better luck next time.

  6. msteudel Says:

    What!? Niki L saw one of the same movies as me? I need to up my standards or something. At least you made it through all three of them.

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