Trois Couleurs : Blanc
Bonus Features: Commentary by Anne Insdorf, A Look at "Blanc" , A Discussion on Kieslowski's later years , Conversations with Julie Delpy on Kieslowski , Marin Karmintz Interview , Julie Delpy selected scene commentary /interview, Behind the scenes of "White" with Krzysztof Kieslowski , Keiwslowski filmography.
White is the second of witty Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowki's "three colors" trilogy Blue, White, and Red--the three colors of the French flag, symbolizing liberty, equality, and fraternity. White is an ironic comedy brimming over with the hard laughs of despair, ecstasy, ambition, and longing played in a minor key.
Down-and-out Polish immigrant Karol Karol is desperate to get out of France. He's obsessed with his French soon-to-be ex-wife (Before Sunrise's Julie Delpy), his French bank account is frozen, and he's fed up with the inequality of it all. Penniless, he convinces a fellow Pole to smuggle him home in a suitcase--which then gets stolen from the airport. The unhappy thieves beat him and dump him in a snowy rock pit. Things can only get better, right? The story evolves into a wickedly funny antiromance, an inverse Romeo and Juliet. Because it's in two foreign languages, the dialogue can be occasionally hard to follow, but some of the most genuinely funny and touching moments need no verbal explanation. --Grant Balfour --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.
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Zbigniew Zamachowski plays Karol Karol, a Polish immigrant living in Paris with his wife, Dominique (Julie Delpy). As the film opens, Karol and Dominique are in divorce court; she wants the divorce, he doesn't. She wins, and he is left with nothing but a large suitcase -- in which he manages to send himself back to Poland, with unexpected results.
While white is traditionally the color of marriage, in this film it is the color of divorce. Throughout the movie the sky is a bleak, almost colorless shade of white, reflecting Karol's mood. The divorce proceedings take place in a white marble courtyard, and after the hearing Dominique drives away in a white car. When Karol returns to Poland, the countryside is buried under a layer of snow. More than that, the color symbolizes the sterility of their marriage: Dominique's grounds for divorce are that the marriage has never been consummated.
For the rest of the film, Karol struggles to rebuild his life and to win back Dominique. The movie is enjoyable, with highly original subplots. The actors turn in fine performances, and the direction (as one would expect from Kieslowski) is intriguing without being heavy-handed. However, for a film that focuses on such emotional topics as love and death, it fails to rouse intense emotions in the viewer. END
WHITE is one in a trilogy of French films also comprising BLUE and RED.
As the film opens, Polish emigre Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) arrives in a Parisian court for his divorce hearing. His wife, the ravishing Dominique (Julie Delpy), is giving him the toss because he no longer satisfies her sexually, although she admits he was hot stuff when they first met in Warsaw.
After the dissolution of the marriage is decreed, Dominique dumps Karol's possessions, all contained in a large trunk, into the car park and drives off. Karol soon discovers that she's also cut off his access to their joint bank account. Karol, now down and out and soliciting handouts in the Paris Metro, absorbs the abuse without any overt sign of anger, even after his ex figuratively pushes his nose into the fact that she's copulating with another man. Karol is the meekest and most inoffensive of men. Let's not mince words; he's a wimp.
With the help of another Pole, Mikolaj (Janusz Gajos), Karol returns to Warsaw by an unusual route. Once arrived, he literally ends up in a ditch. Rock bottom is a hard place.
Karol is an award-winning hairdresser, and he begins working in his brother's beauty shop. Through good luck and a series of shrewd moves unrelated to the hair trade, he becomes rich. And it's also clear that he remains obsessed with Dominique.
WHITE is somewhat less subtle than BLUE, and therefore demands less cerebral exercise on the part of the viewer; BLUE tries too hard to be obscure. Karol is an enormously endearing character, much like a puppy that's been kicked. And, though we don't know what his grand strategy is, we recognize that he has a plan that he's clearly implementing. The lovely Juliette Binoche in BLUE is a more aloof figure as she struggles to recover from a family tragedy, and it's only from close-ups of her face that the audience can infer what's going on inside. WHITE is thus, to this viewer, the more satisfying of the two.
Zamachowski's performance is solid, and Mikolaj is the friend that anybody could hope for. And Delpy's Dominique is eye candy that would drive any sober man on a fevered quest.
It's said that revenge is a dish that's best eaten cold, and WHITE suggests such a meal. The very last scene strongly implies, however, that Karol ultimately lacks the requisite dispassion.
When I mentioned to people that I was in the midst of watching Three Colours, Kieslowski's celebrated film trilogy, for the first time, to a person, I got the same reaction: "oh, Blue is my favorite of the three, but the other two are really good as well!" Of course, if you've been following along, you know me: if there's a sacred cow around, I have an overwhelming urge to turn it into shish-kebab, and that may be part of the reason that, now that I've given myself a few weeks' perspective from all three films, I've landed on White as my favorite of the three. But it could also be that White is the film that, in some odd way that I can't quite put my finger on, most reminded me of Dekalog, my favorite Kieslowski offering. Even though Blue has the most surface connection to Dekalog, White has a great deal of that same mindset going on under the hood. Kieskowski's masterful morality play would have fit right in with Dekalog, I think.
The wonderfully-named Karol Karol (The Call of the Toad's Zbigniew Zamachowski) is a Polish expatriate barely getting by in Paris. His lovely young wife Dominique (Killing Zoe's Julie Delpy) has just divorced him after only six months, and he finds himself homeless. While playing a comb in the metro to pick up spare change, he meets Mikolaj (Aquarium's Janusz Gajos), a wealthy Polish businessman who wants Karol to come back to Poland with him to perform a service (saying what would be a spoiler). Things turn out unexpectedly in Poland, and Karol, who has never forgotten Dominique's betrayal, alternately tries to go on with his life without her and concocts absurd schemes to win her back.
I think one of the reasons I liked White more than the other two films is that, of the Kieslowski works I've seen (all the major films at this point, and a few of the shorts-- not nearly as many as I'd like), it's the out-and-out funniest; it requires a warped sense of humor, to be sure, but Karol is without doubt meant to be a comic figure, and Zamachowski's hapless portrayal is spot-on. Karol never feels entirely comfortable in his skin, whether he's on top of the world or at the bottom of the trash heap, and it's Zamachowski's excellent portrayal of Karol that makes this film a success as much as it is Kieslowski's impressive directorial skills. Whereas Juliette Binoche's character in Blue was never less than self-assured, even when she was entirely lost, Karol is her opposite; he's never self-assured even when he's most found. And yet neither Zamachowski nor Kieslowski ever overplay their hands; Karol is usually at least sympathetic, if not outright pathetic, but Zamachowski does it so well that even the well-worn cliché that forms the final movement of the film comes off as fresh and inviting.
White is Kieslowski at his finest, easily on a par with episodes five and seven of Dekalog. I cannot recommend the films of Kieslowski highly enough, if you haven't already experienced them; while I'd suggest starting with Dekalog, it does represent a serious chunk of time, and Three Colours gives you a taste of the genius without having to invest eleven hours and change. **** ½
Hairdresser Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) is being coldly divorced by his beautiful wife Dominique (Julie Delpy) because she is sexually dissatisfied with him. She also strips him of his money and possessions, leaving him playing pitiful music at the subways. What's more, she rubs it in his face that she's now having sex with other men.
Things can't get worse, right? Wrong: Karol goes back to Poland and ends up getting beaten up and robbed. Via some not-so-legal methods, Karol builds himself an impressive fortune and becomes determined to get back at his cold, manipulative ex-wife. Amid a web of killing, seduction and faked death, Karol finds the perfect method to bring Dominique down...
"White" is certainly a successful black comedy -- it's sort of weirdly, freakily funny. Unfortunately, it's also the weakest of Kieslowski's "Colors" movies -- some of the plot devices seem too unbelievable (like Karol shipping himself in a trunk), and the tricks and twists of the plot are a little too much to swallow. However, the twisted love/hate relationship between Dominique and Karol is fascinating, and Karol's revenge is devilishly clever for what seems like a nice, goofy little man.
White is the color of wedding dresses and various other marriage-related things. But here, it's nothing so nice: an anti-color, a space where color isn't. It's snow, it's emptiness, it's colorless, it's passionless. Kieslowski's black comedy is sprinkled with white -- white cars, white skies, white marble, white snow. There's less grace in Kieslowski's direction, but the images he creates are still breathtakingly pretty and subtle. (The "sign language" scene is evidence enough)
Zamachowski has an underrated turn as Karol Karol. He seems like a nice, sweet guy who takes one kick in the teeth after another, kind of like a lost puppy. In a word: Loser. In another word: Wimp. Then he shows his dark side -- one that, on the outside, nobody would think Karol had. And Delpy does a lovely job making Dominique into a malicious schemer, without making her two-dimensionally nasty.
This droll dark comedy is a bit flawed, but it shows Kieslowski's unmistakable style and wit, and the acting is nearly impeccable. Call it a portrait in "White."
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