The capstone to Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski’s brilliant career, the Three Colors trilogy explores the principles of the French Revolution—liberty, equality, and fraternity—through a series of intricately layered human dramas, culminating in 1994’s Oscar-nominated Red. This gorgeously photographed meditation on chance, destiny, and the challenges of interpersonal communication follows a Swiss fashion model (Irène Jacob) and the subtle connections that form between her life and those of an emotionally alienated retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and a young law student in her neighborhood (Jean-Pierre Lorit). In the below excerpt from the latest installment of Observations on Film Art, a Criterion Channel program that focuses on the formal elements of cinema and how they are deployed by some of the world’s greatest auteurs, professor Jeff Smith examines the ways in which Kieślowski uses camera movement to suggest the fated entanglement of the film’s characters.
Heeey, um, Professor Savin. This is Jeff the intern, quick question. Some items in your office seem to have been imbues with sentience and are glowing red calling out for the blood of the innocent. Is this like normal? Or should we be concerned?