Three Colours: White

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Quite different in tone to its predecessor, Kieslowski’s second film in the trilogy is a bracing black comedy on the theme of equality. The central character, Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), is a Polish hairdresser who lives in Paris with his beautiful French wife, Dominique (Julie Delpy). As the film begins, Karol’s life is falling apart. Dominique divorces him, and the hapless Karol ends up on the streets, penniless, with no passport and no means of returning to Poland. A chance encounter with a fellow Pole provides a bizarre solution to his problem, and back on home turf our little Everyman figure sets about improving himself by exploiting the new business opportunities available in the post-Communist era. Despite his success, Karol cannot forget Dominique and hatches an elaborate plan to entrap her in an act that’s both a form of revenge and an acknowledgement of his love.

Avoiding the portentousness of Blue, White sees a return to the black humour of the director’s earlier Polish work, resulting in a far more pointed and cogent essay than the companion films set in France and Switzerland.

France-Poland, 1993.
92 mins.

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