Lately I’ve been going through a phase of revisiting movies my mom made me watch way sooner than I should have. Not to give her the satisfaction of being able to say “I told you so,” but (I reluctantly admit) the woman has an amazing and unorthodox taste in movies. One of these films is Three Colors: Blue from Krzysztof Kieslowski (which took me entirely too long to type out). It’s the first movie since Victoria that made me stop looking at my phone, work email, or what-have-you (my cat) and be totally engaged in a movie.
This, in large part, is due to the film’s pacing; perpetuated in the small moments set up by Kieslowski that intentionally blur the line between Julie's (played by Juliette Binoche) experience of life and our own. It should come as no surprise that Binoche is simply a treasure, and her performance is breathtaking. But, I'm less here for celebrating one of my favorite actresses and more for really zooming in on how we relate to her and her character in the film. It's a movie that almost "thinks" with you in real time. By highlighting the minutiae of Julie's grief, Kieslowski puts me there with her. But not in, like, a loud-proud-look-at-all-the-shit-I've-suffered way, but in a way that pulls me in with this sensitivity that makes me believe her. Mourn and learn with her. Almost like we’re watching the same story from the same perspective play out.
My favorite scene in Blue is Julie’s dismissal of an ex-lover. As he talks to her, she’s distant—focusing instead on a street performer outside a café window. She’s taped off her world and instead chooses to focus on the little details that surround her. Almost as though her own narrative is a movie even she doesn’t want to be watching. The ex-lover leaves, and Julie is left staring at her coffee, followed by a 4 and a half second shot of her letting a sugar cube dissolve slowly between her fingers. This detailed shot doesn’t mean anything unless we share this space with her. When asked about Blue, Kieslowski talks about his consideration for an audience — He’s not making scenes for them, but instead keeping in mind what an audience will tolerate: a 5 second shot of a sugar cube? Sure. An eleven second shot? Probably not.
Batman v. Superman maybe 50 times, I crave more mainstream movies that have this pacing that now seems reserved for art house and indie films. I want the time in a film to develop along side a character and am nostalgic for the connection that happens with that time. So— go watch Blue! Rewatch Blue. Let directors play with your brain. It’s fun!