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White (Three Colors Trilogy)
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Zbigniew Zamachowski plays Karol Karol, a Polish immigrant living in Paris with his wife, Dominique (Julie Delpy). As the film opens, Karol and Dominique are in divorce court; she wants the divorce, he doesn't. She wins, and he is left with nothing but a large suitcase -- in which he manages to send himself back to Poland, with unexpected results.
While white is traditionally the color of marriage, in this film it is the color of divorce. Throughout the movie the sky is a bleak, almost colorless shade of white, reflecting Karol's mood. The divorce proceedings take place in a white marble courtyard, and after the hearing Dominique drives away in a white car. When Karol returns to Poland, the countryside is buried under a layer of snow. More than that, the color symbolizes the sterility of their marriage: Dominique's grounds for divorce are that the marriage has never been consummated.
For the rest of the film, Karol struggles to rebuild his life and to win back Dominique. The movie is enjoyable, with highly original subplots. The actors turn in fine performances, and the direction (as one would expect from Kieslowski) is intriguing without being heavy-handed. However, for a film that focuses on such emotional topics as love and death, it fails to rouse intense emotions in the viewer. END
WHITE is one in a trilogy of French films also comprising BLUE and RED.
As the film opens, Polish emigre Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) arrives in a Parisian court for his divorce hearing. His wife, the ravishing Dominique (Julie Delpy), is giving him the toss because he no longer satisfies her sexually, although she admits he was hot stuff when they first met in Warsaw.
After the dissolution of the marriage is decreed, Dominique dumps Karol's possessions, all contained in a large trunk, into the car park and drives off. Karol soon discovers that she's also cut off his access to their joint bank account. Karol, now down and out and soliciting handouts in the Paris Metro, absorbs the abuse without any overt sign of anger, even after his ex figuratively pushes his nose into the fact that she's copulating with another man. Karol is the meekest and most inoffensive of men. Let's not mince words; he's a wimp.
With the help of another Pole, Mikolaj (Janusz Gajos), Karol returns to Warsaw by an unusual route. Once arrived, he literally ends up in a ditch. Rock bottom is a hard place.
Karol is an award-winning hairdresser, and he begins working in his brother's beauty shop. Through good luck and a series of shrewd moves unrelated to the hair trade, he becomes rich. And it's also clear that he remains obsessed with Dominique.
WHITE is somewhat less subtle than BLUE, and therefore demands less cerebral exercise on the part of the viewer; BLUE tries too hard to be obscure. Karol is an enormously endearing character, much like a puppy that's been kicked. And, though we don't know what his grand strategy is, we recognize that he has a plan that he's clearly implementing.Read more ›
When I mentioned to people that I was in the midst of watching Three Colours, Kieslowski's celebrated film trilogy, for the first time, to a person, I got the same reaction: "oh, Blue is my favorite of the three, but the other two are really good as well!" Of course, if you've been following along, you know me: if there's a sacred cow around, I have an overwhelming urge to turn it into shish-kebab, and that may be part of the reason that, now that I've given myself a few weeks' perspective from all three films, I've landed on White as my favorite of the three. But it could also be that White is the film that, in some odd way that I can't quite put my finger on, most reminded me of Dekalog, my favorite Kieslowski offering. Even though Blue has the most surface connection to Dekalog, White has a great deal of that same mindset going on under the hood. Kieskowski's masterful morality play would have fit right in with Dekalog, I think.
The wonderfully-named Karol Karol (The Call of the Toad's Zbigniew Zamachowski) is a Polish expatriate barely getting by in Paris. His lovely young wife Dominique (Killing Zoe's Julie Delpy) has just divorced him after only six months, and he finds himself homeless. While playing a comb in the metro to pick up spare change, he meets Mikolaj (Aquarium's Janusz Gajos), a wealthy Polish businessman who wants Karol to come back to Poland with him to perform a service (saying what would be a spoiler). Things turn out unexpectedly in Poland, and Karol, who has never forgotten Dominique's betrayal, alternately tries to go on with his life without her and concocts absurd schemes to win her back.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Is there a bit of sexist snark at the bottom of "White," the middle movie of Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy? Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stanley Crowe
If you like your foreign films to be a little on the dark side, and enjoy a story that isn't quite predictable, I recommend White.Published 15 months ago by Timothy M. Mccutcheon
White is about a jealous husband seeking revenge on his wife by getting her to love him. The irony is that he succeeds in getting her love but the act of getting revenge ruins... Read morePublished on July 19, 2013 by Story Charts
A droll.black comedy that talks of the personal and political adjustments of the new Europe."We're European now" Karol's(Zamachowski) brother tells him when he gets back to the... Read morePublished on August 23, 2012 by technoguy
I couldn't find this film on my Netflix or my friend's blockbuster account so I thought why not try Amazon and just buy it. Read morePublished on February 8, 2011 by Owner of big faced watch
The main character (Karol) parades his sorry self through the horrific destitution of identity, propelling his dejected preverbal self through a spiral of rejection which seems to... Read morePublished on August 31, 2010 by PsyRC
This movie highlights the idea of equalite or Equality. A man from Poland humiliated and rejected by his French wife returns to Poland where he finds a gangsterish mentality has... Read morePublished on July 19, 2009 by Lynn Ellingwood
I'd been meaning to see these movies for years and I am extremely disappointed. A couple months later, I don't remember what happened in Bleu. Read morePublished on February 2, 2009 by Laramie Flick
The Bottom Line:
The most plotted, most interesting, and (dare I say?) the most complete movie in Kieslowski's trilogy, White shows the machinations of a couple who are... Read more
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