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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Red': The Enlivening Final Installment in Krzysztof Kieślowski's Celebrated 'Three Colors' Trilogy

Movie poster for the film Red (1994)

Red (Trois Couleurs: Rouge) (1994) is a uniquely dramatic mystery-romance starring Irène Jacob as Valentine, a young model and university student in Geneva, Switzerland. The storyline follows her unlikely friendship with a retired judge named Joseph Kern (Jean-Louis Trintignant) whose dog she accidentally hits while driving her car.

Searching out the dog's owner and finding Kern living a life of quiet solitude, she's surprised to find that he fills his days eavesdropping on the affairs of his neighbors. Particularly keen to listen in on his male neighbor's illicit telephone conversations with his gay lover, Kern challenges Valentine with the justification that one's actions have no affect upon the outcome of other people's lives. Yet this assertion soon comes under question as Kern becomes embroiled in a complex legal case—one that opens the eyes of both to the true meaning of the principle of altruism.

Co-written and directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski (The Decalogue, The Double Life of Veronique), Red is the third of the three films (following Blue from 1993 and White from 1994) comprising his celebrated "Three Colors" trilogy. Each representing a color of the French flag and the political ideals they represent, Kieślowski employs Red as a vessel for his exploration of fraternity, and the bonds that form between fellow human beings. Indeed, Kieślowski's final film is an eye-opening and enlivening depiction of human accord, in all of its inherent complexity.


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