I first came across the great Polish Director Krzysztof Kieslowski a few years ago when purely by happenstance I stumbled across his feature Krótki film o milosci (A short film about love ), Made in 1988, it is without doubt one of the most sensitive and powerful depictions of love ever committed to film and a masterpiece in contemporary filmmaking.
Unfortunately, outside of Poland the film had an extremely limited release and as a result a very limited audience. However the films that caterpulted Kieslowski to international stardom was his Three Colours Trilogy. Three Colours : Blue(Trois couleurs: Bleu) was released in 1993 followed by Three Colours: White (Trzy kolory: Bialy) in 1994. The final film in the trilogy, the Oscar nominated Three Colours: Red came out in the same year. Each film depicts a different facet of the human condition.
Red is my personal favourite of the three films and having recently revisited it on DVD I am still in awe of Kieslowski’s talent as a story teller. The film was Oscar nominated and won countless international film awards.
It is a multi-layered, densely plotted meditation on the nature of fate and love. In Red, love and fate are intertwined but complex notions, dictated as much by the whims of human beings as the invisible parallel associations that seems to pass us by. One can sense that the film is really an allegory, a reenactment of Prospero’s omnipresent gestures in The Tempest, yet it is more than its story appears. Red demands countless viewings, and in each viewing something new is discovered that weaves itself into the already immaculately plotted structure.
Although Red stands alone as a masterwork from Kieslowski, it’s best viewed as part of the trilogy. Elements of Blue and White are referenced in Red, which knowing viewers will no doubt enjoy.
Kieslowski intended to retire after this film, so in a way it is his artistic testament. He died a couple of years later and though it is said that he intended to return to directing, destiny decided that this was indeed his last film. A last film any director would be proud of!
Post Cold War Polish cinema had been stagnating somewhat with a lot of Polish talent, such as Cinematographer Janusz Kamiński and Directors Agnieszka Holland and Roman Polanski, graduates from the world famous Lodz Film School, choosing to work in Hollywood. Kieslowski, himself a former Lodz student, chose to stay in Poland and was a beacon for Film excellence. He will without a shadow of a doubt, take his place alongside Steven Spielberg and Akira Kurasawa as one of the truly great filmmakers the world has ever seen.