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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Three Colours and Ken’s New Queen of Crime

September 13th, 2022 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

Three Colours: Blue (Film, France/Switzerland/Poland, Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993) After her daughter and composer husband die in a car crash, Julie (Juliette Binoche) tries to liberate herself from other people. Near-perfect sound, lighting, score, and production design buttress the twin triumphs of Kieślowski’s direction and Binoche’s performance, which pulls the whole film from despair to grief to a veritable struggle against art and love. Overwhelmingly great. –KH

Three Colours: Red (Film, France/Switzerland/Poland, Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1994) In Geneva, model Valentine (Irene Jacob) hits a dog belonging to retired judge Joseph (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and enters his bleak web of fraternity. Remarkable two-hander scenes power and illuminate the core of this “anti-tragedy” about chance, fate, connection, love, need, and time. Amazing inverted pyramid of a film ends the trilogy perfectly on a still image. –KH

Recommended

London Particular (Fiction, Christianna Brand, 1952) [Published as Fog of Doubt in the US.] A thick fog blankets London when a Belgian bon viveur gets his head smashed in a doctor’s house: can Inspector Cockrill see through it? Remorseless fair-play mystery showcases Brand’s unsentimental but winning character portraits, a masterpiece of misdirection in every sense. I may have a new Queen of Crime. –KH

Three Colours: White (Film, France/Switzerland/Poland, Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1994) After his wife Dominique (Julie Delpy) cruelly dumps and destroys him, schlemiel Polish hairdresser Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowsky) resolves to equalize their situation. The comic heart of the film bats between opposites and twins – East and West, crime and friendship, love and hate, Karol and his ally Mikolaj (Janusz Gajos), life and death. Not quite as beautiful or pure as the other two “Colours,” so merely a superb film instead of a transcendent one. –KH

Good

Girls on Film (Nonfiction, Alicia Malone, 2022) Film writer Malone connects the events of her own life to classic movies and the attitudes toward women they created and reflect, tracing her journey from preteen cineaste to Turner Classic Movies host. Insightful, accessible intertwining of the personal and political.—RDL

Okay

The Late Monsieur Gallet (Fiction, Georges Simenon, 1931) Inspector Maigret investigates the hotel shooting death of a sickly traveling salesman who was more than he seemed. Simenon strays from his usual social realism into a gimmicky mystery with outlandish backstory.—RDL

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