December 15, 1994 [Blue, White, Red]

I managed to catch the final film in Krysztof Kieslowski's "colors" trilogy, Red.  The first one was last year--December as well, I think.  Each of them seems like winter or autumn movies, some chill creeping in that threatens to turn love into something else: a ghost-double that looks like love but may be nothing but straw and feathers--or something worse, something soft and yielding, still warm, as though it had been alive just before touching it, but gone now.

That's my memory of White earlier this year, last winter. The little Polish man (reminding me of Polanski, maybe in The Tenant right before he goes mad--or is he possessed?) crammed into the stolen trunk, beaten but unbowed, seeming to seek vengeance on the woman he couldn't satisfy--but really it was love, a cold and slick-ice thing sweating and freezing; then calm and cool, trapping her like a fly he will never eat, just visit down there in the web getting dusty from prison silt drifting down on her, his at last.

Blue, though: an act of dedication and liberation, art and love and memory and guilt and fulfillment, a crowded movie with the loved ones dead but the song remains--cupped in her hand, maybe too gently--and taken from her; but that doesn't last, she knows what she owns, and she broke my heart in love for her because she ran away so well, erasing everything--except herself; that she carries with her, and her grieving, living self haunts her until she sees the ghost--so that she can remember, draw the notes on the staff she has erased--another ghost, a melody that makes the both of us cry at the end, but in some kind of joy.

But these two serve as prelude to Red, the one I think I'll hold closest.  The peeping-Tom judge hunches down and waits for dark; but the young woman will not let him be--will not let him be alone, that is, and she and the mended dog pry open his secrets and shame, and finally love breaks open like a small box worked and worked in your hands until the catch gives and spills everything out, sinking to the floor like the ferry in the Channel at the end--and who survives?  Everyone from the three Colors, while the judge gets to be the last to cry over the fact of love, hard and cold and beautiful and necessary.

I'm not sure if I can watch a love story again--or remember the ones I love, all the way back--without the French flag fluttering away in the background--snapping sometimes, the cold wind leaving splinters of ice along the edge--but, sentimental fool that I am, also bathed in unusual sunlight, the kind of weather you don't expect on the English Channel as the engines smoke and a few lucky survivors blink at news cameras so that we can count them--lucky, I think.


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