Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

19 November 2008: Film Notes – Trois Couleurs Bleu

Posted by Christina on March 23, 2009

trois-couleurs-bleuThe ‘Trois Couleurs’ series was one of my favorite parts of this class. Juliette Binoche is absolutely amazing in this film and the whole aspect of the triad of films was so brilliant as well. This is another selection from film notes and again, answers a question concerning the film

Film Notes: What is the function of the score in Three Colors: Blue?

Trois Couleurs: Bleu (Three Colors: Blue), Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993

While it is evident that Julie is trying to disassociate herself from her former life, liberate herself from an identity of the past and repress memories from a previous existence, it is the with the reoccurrence of the music that Julie is somewhat forced to remember her past. The haunting phrases from the score are what remain in Julie’s life even while she is so desperately trying to rid herself of her past. When she rents the apartment Julie takes on her maiden name, she destroys the music notation associated with her husband and the life-status she had with him and she rids herself of everything material that would be responsible for serving as any memento save the blue jewel-beaded mobile. Regardless of these actions seeming like brash, thoughtless actions of anxiety and depression after the devastating accident, it is with a firm conviction of wanting so desperately to start her life anew that Julie rids herself of all these memories. Yet try as she might, her disposing of objects that might serve as materialistic nostalgia-inducers resurrect during moments she least expects it and in the form of the music that she tries to consider a part of her past life.

Interestingly, when she hears the music, the screen blacks out for several seconds and the orchestral sounds overpower the audience’s senses. This is perhaps done to show what might be going on in Julie’s head. It could be her blacking out because a particularly haunting phrase of music is persistently trying to reinsert itself into her life when she least expects it. While it seems that Julie has effectively rid herself of her past, it is the music that plays an important role in bringing her back in touch with portions of her life she tried to cut herself off from. Like several of the senses that invoke memory-how smelling a particular perfume could bring about thoughts of childhood-music works with the sense of hearing to procure memories one might have long since forgotten or tried to repress. This happens when she hears the flute player on the street as well as in her own psyche as the music that was such an integral part of her very existence seems to literally take her by surprise and knock her off her consciousness for a moment.

It is her very existence, her humanity and the sheer way of being that makes it impossible for Julie to effectively forget because of how she not only touches the hearts of those around her, but really does allow herself to be affected by them. In an apartment of self-righteous inhabitants, Julie in effect stands up for the Lucille because she sees the humanity below that perpetually commando-sporting exterior. Then she offers the home of her family and her dead husband’s name to his mistress and unborn child conceived out of wedlock and in infidelity. She eventually reaches out to Olivier again and it is here that the purpose of music plays perhaps the largest role. While throughout the film, pieces of the music have hinted their reemergence into her life, whether she liked it or not, it is the completion of her husband’s piece for the unification of Europe where she finally gives in and focuses her life wholly on the music once again. At the end Olivier doesn’t want her help, explaining it would be best that it doesn’t come out that she was writing her husband’s music, apparently, and ultimately decides his authorship would be best for the piece and the public, even if the final piece wouldn’t be as good as something the public thought was done by Julie’s late husband. When she allows Olivier to do this and still continues a relationship with him, it’s a way in which Julie has allowed that music to live, has stopped repressing it and seems content with having it a part of her life and the life of the society around her. The ending shows this as the completed piece is played in its entirety through a montage of muddled images from Julie’s life.

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