Kieslowski’s “Three Colours Trilogy” screens at MFAH

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Three Colours Trilogy,” released domestically in 1993 and 1994, examined then current European sensibilities.

The films – “Blue,” “White,” and “Red” –  were released by Miramax with “Red” receiving three Oscar noms for directing, cinematography, and script, and perhaps not oddly losing the latter to Miramax darling “Pulp Fiction.”

As with Kieslowski’s previous ten-part “The Dekalog” the stories, while not connected at the hip bone, did have overlapping appearances from the lead characters of each; Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, and Irène Jacob.

Movie mavens conversant with foreign films would’ve seen all three actresses in previous films. For instance, Delpy starred in Bertrand Tavernier’s 1987 “Beatrice,” while Binoche and Delpy both appeared in Leos Carax’s 1986 “Mauvais sang.” Jacob had previously starred in Kieslowski’s “The Double Life of Véronique.”

All three performers have worked constantly with Delpy best known to American audiences for her contribution as both star and writer of Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy. Binoche has never left the spotlight and has the best cache of Hollywood and international credits. Jacob while never actually shunning Hollywood was for a brief time the go-to foreign actress in such mid-to-late-90s films as “U. S. Marshalls” and “Othello.”

Jacob found Kieslowski’s method of discovery very roundabout. “If I would say something, he was interested in the reaction of Jean-Louis Trintignant; if Jean-Louis said something he would be interested in how I would react to it. It was like we were building something in the middle we couldn’t see. In ‘Véronique’ it was the introspection of a woman. The camera was entering inside someone. Here, in ‘Red,’ the camera is in the middle of two people,” Jacob said.

Delpy described Kieslowski as a director who cared about his actors. “The first take is the best, the most spontaneous and the most natural,” Delpy said. “When he gets what he wants he doesn’t try to get something else. That’s it. I remember we were shooting the love scene. It was extremely exhausting because he wanted something really precise in the timing of my screaming.”

Binoche recalls: “sometimes I’d have to stress the importance of doing another take, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I just accepted it and did it the way he wanted it. I would say that one month I was fighting and the next month I wasn’t fighting anymore.”

(Quotes were taken from interviews conducted for the paper I worked at during the 1990s.)

All three films of “The Colours Trilogy” will play this weekend at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “Blue” (Friday, October 28, 7 pm.); “White” (Saturday, October 29, 7 pm.); “Red” (Sunday, October 30, 5 pm.).

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