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photography and film – facts, ideas, values

Concentrating on Kieslowski: Three Colours White


I’m not the only one to find White, as part II of the trilogy, a slight disappointment, signified by not being able to watch it again till later. I couldn’t wait for a repeat viewing of the other two.

The connections are there. The old lady is still hunched, and still struggling to put her bottle into the bottle back as in Blue and Red:  Julie in Blue does not see the old lady because she is in a momentary reverie as she catches a patch of sunlight on her face, and Valentine in Red, helps her put the bottle into the container. In White,  Karol Karol just smiles. From what I have read since, the smile has been interpreted as schadenfreude. To me, it seemed to amount to “He’s down, she’s down, and he recognises it”. He’s had quite few mishaps recently. Doing nothing to respond to the old lady hints at the character that will emerge, or be exposed, by his experience of free-wheeling capitalism back in Poland.

Whereas as Karol becomes a wealthy businessman on his return to post-communist Poland, and is seen a tougher character, in Paris he seems vulnerable, the victim of events.  It doesn’t seem possible that the one should change into the other. Maybe that is part of the anti-capitalist message! Although the theme is equality, Kieslowski treated it as unequality and somewhere has said so.

There is a suggestion by some clever clogs that White takes place after the ferry disaster at the end of  Red, presumably on the basis that in Red both Karol and his ex-wife survive the ferry sinking. In Blue Julie looks into a court room through a round window in the door to look at her husband’s mistress, Sandrine, witnessing the divorce scene in White.  A voice speaking in rapidly in French – presumably the translator – asks “What about equality? Is it because I can’t speak French that court won’t hear my case?”

In the Strictly Film School summary of White, there is mention of the achronology.

Maybe more later. White is not a priority in my film viewing/study.


November 17, 2008 - Posted by | film [its techniques], Kieslowski, Krzysztof Kieślowski |

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