Film Review: Three Colours Red / Trois Couleurs Rouge [dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski; 1994]

When you know a film as well as I know Red, re-watching it becomes an experience that’s as much about yourself as it is about the movie. You find yourself reacting less strongly to aspects which had a tremendous impact on you years ago, whilst scenes which seemed relatively unimportant when you were younger resonate with new force. Like all great works of art, Kieslowski’s final film transcends its specific context and speaks to all people of all times, using its simple story of a young student’s developing relationship with a mysterious retired judge to explore ideas about the hidden forces that bind us all together. Its technical accomplishments are rivetting to watch: Piotr Sobocinki’s photography provides as much evidence as one could ever wish for that a landscape is a character in itself; Zbigniew Preisner’s music speaks of bruised tenderness with every haunting note; and Kieslowki’s use of tracking shots is intelligent and beguiling, connecting disparate elements with subtle grace. But the real stars are, appropriately enough, the people, especially Irene Jacob and Jean-Louis Trintignant in the lead roles, who effortlessly lend their characters the quirky unknowability that makes each of us unique. An unforgettable tour de force, Red remains my favourite film of all time.

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