Before the numerous superhero trilogies that spawned from the early 2000’s and onwards, there was this trilogy. The theme? Colors. Why? Uh, because.
These intriguing-looking films have been on the back of my film radar for a while now, since discovering them randomly around 2019-20. I wasn’t sure what their intended goal was or what they tried to convey, and after doing some research and watching this debut piece, I’m still not 100% sure. This Criterion Collection synopsis is about as concise as can be when describing their significance.
For those with some practice in educated foresight: indeed, I will be watching the two following films in the coming days.
First comes Blue, starring Juliette Binoche, an actor I have heard a lot of incredible things about. Her inclusion in this trilogy was, in part, what inspired me to take the dive, if not for the incredible reception this trilogy has. Since we’re on topic, she was just about as advertised here, showing full control of the role she takes here. An accident leaves her character without a husband and daughter, leaving her alone in a world of blue which no longer has much meaning. Memories of what once was only drive her into a deep depressive state, so all she can do is bear what remains and run.
If we’re being very, very cynical here, this is pretty much the entire film. Binoche’s characters—Julie—is sad. She’s sad for almost the entire film. Running around doing various things and living some miserable existence, it continuously focuses on the incredibly poignant grief that she carries and its effects on her life. She’s super sad. Blue is everywhere. That color means sad. You will see a lot of sad and blue.
Such cynicism may be why I didn’t like this as much as I could have. A very slow burn, completely in tune with the aspect of showcasing usually restrained grief. Julie almost never fully dives into the deep end of the pool of her depressive subconscious, so to speak. She holds it in, only dipping in her toes during moments of complete confidence and isolation. And speaking of swimming analogies… she swims a lot in this film. It felt appropriate to continue the theme.
What gives the, uh, “plot,” more meaning to follow along with—aside from just showcasing everything in blue—is the aftermath of Julie’s husband’s demise. He was a very famous composer, known far and wide for his, well, compositions. Now deceased, there’s some things going on in the background that begin to unfold. A secret life? Fraudulent claims? Julie ends up minimally involved in situations that only occur due to being without him, which does an adequate job of keeping the story focused.
Nevertheless, I think the main “purpose” of the film is empathy, sympathy, emotional feedback, and what have you. An efficient, artsy-fartsy way of having you analyze the film for all the symbolic sadness it portrays. Generally quiet, blissfully blue, Binoche looking very tired of everything. It was a blast.
Was I affected by any of it? Minimally. I think the most effective part of this film, aside from the blue implementation, was Binoche as an actor. Her expressions, line deliveries, body language; all have a mysterious grace to it, solemn and moody. She’s not quite to the point here where your eyes are glued to her throughout, but it’s very easy to believe her performance. Likely the best part of the film is her as a performer, character, and focal point. Julie drives it, and she delivers.
Not too much else to say. I’m looking forward to watching White tomorrow, which, at least according to various film databases, is “the worst one.” It’s definitely a unique take on a trilogy, with very little in terms of overlapping themes or characters. This was a solid first step. Recommended for those who just like to look at Juliette Binoche being sad.
Final Score: 7.5/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!