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  Three Colours: White Now We're Even
Year: 1994
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Stars: Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy, Janusz Gajos, Jerzy Stuhr, Aleksander Bardini, Grzegorz Warchol, Cezary Harasimowicz, Jerzy Nowak, Jerzy Trela, Cezary Pazura, Michel Lisowski, Philippe Morier-Genoud, Piotr Machalica, Francis Coffinet, Barbara Dziekan
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's all gone horribly wrong for Polish hairdresser Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), and as he approaches the Paris courtroom he has been summoned to it's about to get worse. He does not wish to be divorced from Dominique (Julie Delpy), but she wants to be divorced from him, seeing as how their six month long marriage has remained unconsummated and she doesn't love him anymore anyway. He hold his head in his hands as the divorce is agreed, and tries to reason with her outside, but she simply gives him his suitcase, waves goodbye, and drives away...

As if that were not bad enough, now he doesn't have anywhere to live, and his bank card has been cancelled so all the money he has is what's in his pockets - yes, writer and director Krzysztof Kieslowski was really piling it on the head of his hapless hero. Having proved there was no such thing as freedom in the first part of this trilogy, Three Colours: Blue, he had a more agreeable opinion of whether there was equality in the world, except in a fashion more bitter that bittersweet he didn't see that in love, but in cruelty as the whole story maps out how one woman's antagonism can be turned around by the target of such ill-feeling.

The Karol character was described as Chaplinesque by many, perhaps because he is basically the Polish version of the Little Tramp for much of the first half of the movie - he doesn't have anywhere to stay, at any rate, but where Charlie Chaplin had great faith in the power of love, or romance anyway, even if it did not always work out, here Kieslowski had a far more cynical view. Besides, unless you had a particularly sour sense of humour, for what was billed as a comedy Three Colours: White offered precious little to laugh at as the lead was shat on by all and sundry (to illustrate this it happens literally thanks to a passing pigeon at the start).

But there's a ray of hope when he is sitting dejected in the Metro, abandoned by Dominique who has threatened to call the police on him and responds to his plaintive phone call by having sex with another man down the line at him. This is when fellow Pole Mikolaj (Janusz Gajos) comes up to him and makes an offer: he wants to die, and will give Karol a large sum of money if he murders him. In no position to turn him down, Karol gets him to smuggle him back to Poland in that suitcase, and after a brief setback when it's stolen at customs he manages to return home and get his old job back. Now he can set about building a fortune, and all to prove to himself that Dominique really does love him.

You might be tempted to tell him to give up on the woman as after all she has made it plain she's not interested, but there's a caustic theme here about the damage that affairs of the heart can do, and how there's no equality (this representing the middle colour of the French flag) in love but if you're seeking your vengeance on that special someone who spurned you, then you will be satisfied. Again, not funny, and rather cold, but you could understand it to be refreshingly anti the more traditional Hollywood notions of romance, even if it was not what many would want to hear. Three Colours: White, or Trois Couleurs: Blanc in French, was regarded as the least of the trilogy, but it was just as well made as its companions, and no better or worse than them in quality. If you appreciated Kieslowski's disillusioning style in spite of the gloss of the imagery, then you would likely be as diverted by this as the other three films. Music by Zbigniew Preisner.

[Artificial Eye's Blu-ray box set features all three films in pristine prints, along with a number of interviews, making ofs and a masterclass as extras to fill in the background to these arthouse favourites.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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