Three Cinema Lessons by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Whether you’re familiar or not with Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski and his wonderful Three Colors Trilogy, the short video below should interest you. (And then I hope it will make you want to discover Kieslowski’s work!)
Below are three videos, extracts from Dominique Rabourdin‘s Cinema Lessons. Each video focuses on one specific aspect of one of the trilogy’s films and Kieslowski deconstructs for us the thinking behind his choices. A truly fascinating window into a filmmaker’s mind.
Lesson #1: Meaning and Use of a Close-Up in Trois Couleurs Bleu
After showing a brief sequence from Trois Couleurs: Bleu, with Juliette Binoche, Krzysztof Kieslowski explains why he decided to insert what can seem like an ordinary shot: the close up of a sugar cube getting soaked with coffee.
The meaning behind the close up:
“This is a sugar cube about to fall in the cup of coffee. What does this obsession with close-ups mean? Simply that we’re trying to show the heroine’s world from her point of view, to show that she sees these little things, things that are near her, by focusing on them, in order to demonstrate that the rest doesn’t matter to her. She’s trying to contain, to put a lid on her world and on her immediate environment. There are a few details like this in the movie. We made a very tight shot of the sugar cube sucking up the coffee to show that nothing around her matters to her, not other people, not their business, nor the boy, the man who loves her and went through a great ordeal to find her. She just doesn’t care. Only the sugar cube matters, and she intentionally focuses on it to shut out all the things she doesn’t accept.”
The filmmaker then takes it one step further and explains what are the unexpected difficulties associated with such a shot, especially when you know you want the full action (the sugar being entirely covered with coffee) to take neither more nor less than 5 seconds.
It is this degree of attention to detail, but also of visual storytelling that make a film like Trois Couleurs: Bleu such a powerful story that marked many viewers, myself included. Kieslowski demonstrates how everything in his film is linked to his theme.
Lesson #2: Building an Opening Sequence in Trois Couleurs Blanc
In this video, Kieslowski explains how and why he changed the opening scene of White and deciding to intercut X and Y elements and create homogeneity with the three opening of his trilogy:
Lesson #3: Dropping Clues for the Audience in Trois Couleurs Rouge
In the final video, dedicated to Red, the last film of the trilogy, Krzysztof Kieslowski explains how he dropped clues for the audience, that might or might not accumulate in the viewer’s subconscious and help build the story until it reaches (in Red’s case) its first plot point:[thanks to Mayur Kulkarni for video 1 and tranq4096 for video 2 and 3]