Friday, March 30, 2007

Three Colors: White

Trois couleurs: Blanc / Trzy kolory: Biały; tragicomedy, France / Poland / Switzerland, 1993; D: Krzysztof Kieslowski, S: Zbigniew Zamachowski, Janusz Gajos, Julie Delpy, Jerzy Stuhr

France. Karol, a Polish immigrant and a hairdresser, is shocked when a court approves his wife's Dominique request for a divorce. The reason: she didn't want to carry on with the marriage because he didn't have intercourse with her. Karol begs her for a second chance, but she throws him out of the house, even after they have sex. Karol loses his job and money, becoming a homeless man. On the street he meets Mikolaj, also a Polish immigrant, who helps him to return to Poland. There he settles in his brother's home and becomes rich by selling old estates to a company that wants to build a Supermarket. Karol arranges his own, false death. When Dominique shows up on his "funeral", he arranges that the police arrests her for his murder.

"Three Colors: White" is the second and the most amusing contribution from Krzysztof Kieslowski's trilogy "Three Colors". Unlike the other two films, which are dramas, this one could even pass as a comedy. Although at first the wacky parts seem chaotic, they later align themselves into a harmonic whole and leave an positive impression. The unusual story follows the clumsy Karol who is always accompanied by bad luck (his wife Dominique gets a divorce because he didn't have intercourse with her (!), he secretly hides in a bag that gets stolen in a flight from France to Poland), but which slowly with time transforms into good luck and he becomes rich, underlining Kislowski's hidden notion of "equality", the theme of this part of trilogy. At the same time, there is a possible hidden message where Karol's impotence and helplessness in France symbolizes the urge of Poland to become successful in Europe, but always fails. Considering the notion of "equality" once more, maybe it's the key to understanding the ending: at the beginning, the court in France decided in favor of Karol's French wife Dominique, according to the principle of equality, while in Poland the court decided in favor of Karol, by which he got his revenge. "White" is a little bit overrated, but in the end it's still excellent.


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