04.29.09

Kieslowski Week: White

Posted in Events, Writers at 8:35 am by Marion

KIESLOWSKI WEEK: WHITE-BLANC-BILY

Today we arrive at the central piece of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Colors” Trilogy, and my favorite of the three.

White. (French, Blanc and Polish, Bily).

As “Blue” featured the serene Juliette Binoche, “White” features an exceptional Julie Delpy.

Ms. Delpy is also know for her “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” with Ethan Hawke, as well as “2 Days in Paris” with Adam Goldberg. She is a firebrand, but beautiful, and her own inner engine is critical to the extraordinary and unrelenting emotional tension of the film.

White also brings together a pair of Polish actors who starred in the final Dekalog, X: Zbigniew Zamachowski and Jerzy Stuhr.

Where to start with “White.” This is a film that shows us the innocence and imperfection of Kieslowski’s inner creative life, as a metaphor for the human condition. White represents the color blanc of the French flag, and represents the concept egalite, or equality. It is only a loose springboard, however, for a larger exploration of justice.

We meet Karol Karol (Zamachowski), whose beautiful French wife (Delpy) no longer desires him. Karol Karol is such a pathetic man, he can’t even speak for himself when she testifies against him at their divorce hearing.

What happens next just sends him further down: he is smuggled back to Poland in a suitcase, which is stolen, and he is beaten and left in the middle of a Polish industrial wasteland.

Here is where the movie begins its magic. Karol has a plan. We see this man build himself from the inside out, and it is marvelous.

That’s merely plot, however. And with Kieslowski, plot is a small part of the emotional life of a film. With “White,” we have images that erupt, like suns exploding into white heat. Julie Delpy’s porcelain skin and blond hair, and Zamachowski’s own Slavic pallor are both white (blanc), as are the snows of his homeland.

Indeed, throughout the Three Colors, each shade appears throughout the film, shading it with the hue’s mood and emotion.

Scenes of their wedding will take your breath away — the sunlight, white columns and doves flying away are transcendent.

This short post does little justice to this film, but then again, what can words add to such a masterwork.

TOMORROW: Three Colors: Red

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