(Trois Couleurs: Rouge)

foreign films

Red (Trois Couleurs: Rouge)
Made in: France
Language: French
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Starring: Irene Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Lorit
Year: 1994

Synopsis: It's hard to summarize exactly what this movie is about, so I'll give a brief rundown of what happens. Hopefully I'll avoid spoilers.

In Kieslowski's Red, Valentine (Irene Jacob) is a compassionate Swiss university student working in Paris as a model while Auguste (Jean-Pierre Lorit), a young man about her age is finishing his law degree. Although they are practically neighbors, they don't know each other.

One evening, Valentine accidentally runs over a cute dog that belongs to a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant). The judge is a cranky, callous, old man who eavesdrops on his neighbors' phone conversations with the use of sophisticated surveillance equipment.

Appalled at first by the judge's strange hobby, Valentine senses that deep down, the man is somehow not a sicko after all. Drawn to her caring nature, the judge becomes intrigued by Valentine's outlook on life, and begins respecting and appreciating her company.

The two become friends, and meet regularly for engrossing philosophical discussions.

The judge's past, and the current lives of Valentine and Auguste begin overlapping and intersecting. Their respective dramas turn out to be a detailed study of love, loneliness, distrust, betrayal, and hope.

The Good: In the last of Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy, (preceded by Blue and White ) Red had very strong characters and fascinating story development. Valentine, the judge, and Auguste are all very real, and many of the conversations that Valentine and the judge have are engaging.

It's very well photographed, with subjects and shots carefully framed and edited to bring out the theme of coincidence and chance. Although not a very long film, Red is slow-paced and methodical, allowing (and perhaps making) us think about everything being shown.

Once again, Kieslowski never films anything we don't need to see.

The Bad: Overall I thought Red was a very good foreign film, but found the first few scenes between Irene Jacob's character and the judge entirely unrealistic.

Why would she stick around to talk to some creepy old guy who lives by himself and taps other people's phone conversations? I think most people would have turned around, ran out, and called the police.

And then she tries to make friends with the old bastard! Yeah, I'm sure this is the most believable reaction of any fashion model in Paris...

Who would like this movie: See this movie if you want to find out how Kieslowski's trilogy ends. Although none of the three films are directly linked story-wise, they all sort of come together at the end of Red.

Like the films before it, Red will provide plenty of discussion about relationships, love, loneliness, jealousy, etc. It's not a film that you'd see at the cineplex, but it won't be over your head either.

And as I said before, see this only if you're making a sincere effort to give foreign films a try.

(3 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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