10 Things I Learned: Three Colors

10 Things I Learned: Three Colors


Krzysztof Kieślowski directed all three films in the trilogy, Blue, White, and Red, in less than ten months (from September 1992 to May 1993).


The ending of Red was the first scene shot in the entire trilogy. Cinematographer Piotr Sobocinski decided that the image of Irène Jacob against the red coat of a ferry rescue worker should inform the look of the whole movie.


Juliette Binoche turned down a part in Jurassic Park to star in Blue, joking that she would have connected better with the role of a dinosaur than that of the human character she was offered.


The theme music of White can be heard in Red as Irène Jacob’s character, Valentine, is leaving a music store. This is one of many subtle connections among the films in the trilogy.


Composer Zbigniew Preisner and Kieślowski were on a flight to Paris and overheard a pair of Polish men talking about their trip to France. The interaction between the two, whom Preisner compared to “two free-flying birds,” inspired the tango theme in White’s score.


While filming the lovemaking scene in White, Kieślowski sat on the floor next to the bed and camera, within inches of actors Julie Delpy and Zbigniew Zamachowski, counting the seconds on his wristwatch and gesturing wildly at Delpy every time she was to increase the intensity of her moans.


Preisner composed the score for Blue before shooting began, so that the acting, lighting, and choreography of the film could be informed by the tone of the music.


According to Kieślowski, the films were named for the colors of the flag of France, their main source of financing. Had the funds come from Germany, he often said, the titles could have been Black, Red, and Yellow.


Preisner originally composed the music heard during the funeral sequence in Blue for Kieślowski’s No End. It was later played at the director’s own funeral.


Kieślowski and producer Marin Karmitz planned for the films to premiere consecutively at the three major European film festivals. Blue debuted at the Venice Film Festival in September 1993 (it won the Golden Lion), White at Berlin in February 1994 (Kieślowski won the Silver Bear for directing), and Red at Cannes in May 1994 (it lost the Palm d’Or to Pulp Fiction).

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