Book Review: BFI Modern Classics “The ‘Three Colours’ Trilogy” by Geoff Andrew

BFI Modern Classics is a series on non-fiction books that critique and analyze some of cinema’s most celebrated classics and cult films. Geoff Andrew’s “The ‘Three Colours’ Trilogy” analyze and take a look at the late Krzysztof Kieslowski’s (1941-96) most recognized and international films simply titled Blue (1993), Red (1994) and White (1994).

I actually came across the films by accident when they screened the entire trilogy at my college university. The screenings for students was free and I decided to make a day of it. The experience of watching all three films in one day was beyond words and the impression it left with me is still present to this day. Andrew must have had a similar experience as it can be felt in his writing and outlook on Kieslowski’s films.

Most of the BFI Modern Classic books focus on a single film but Andrew goes to great lengths to present to the reader the links between all three films as seen from the film’s director. In the book Andrew breaks down each film individually but then goes and presents how each film’s themes and motifs are present in each subsequent film despite the fact that the films have very little to no means of linking characters (although there are brief cameos by some characters from film to film but at which don’t play any important role to that individual film). Andrew presents numerous production stills and behind the scenes photos to illustrate his points and give a great detail to the casual reader’s understanding of each film individually and as a trilogy.

Although this book would make for challenging reading to those who have never seen the films, the book gives a deeper meaning to the films for those (like me) who have seen the films but did not know the true mastery of Kieslowski’s films. This book will not alienate those that think it is college critical analysis of the film as Andrew keeps the writing basic for the “casual” reader and not for the scholar. If you’ve never seen the films and always wanted to then this would be a good start to prep you for the experience and for those who’ve seen them this book will give you a deeper understanding of a filmmaker whose career was cut too short and of his films which will hopefully affect you in the same way it did Andrew and myself.

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