Saturday, August 1, 2009

Kieslowski's Blue

Krzystof Kieslowski's film Blue tells of a prolonged and painful attempt to create a symphony for European unification. Critics described the film as an "anti-tragedy," because although Julie (Juliette Binoche) loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, and succumbs to a period of reclusion, the blow does not destroy her.

Blue could be an allegory for a continent seeking to turn its back on a bloody past. Ambiguity mars the authorship of the pan-European anthem, as it is suggested that it was Julie and not her late husband who is the true genius behind the work. The music is subjected to a stalled collaboration that eventually falls apart, although the music does pull Julie out of the withdrawal that followed her personal catastrophe. The finale delivers the completed symphony, and a montage of each of the characters whose lives Julie has touched.

Kieslowski was a Polish filmmaker that made his bones in France. He made resolutely apolitical work that always drew the wrath of the state censors. Although he began his career as a documentarian, Blue is shot through with magic.