ANYWAY. This film reminded me of Saturday only because ostensibly it's set out to be a comment on the blue bit of the french flag: liberty. But then we spend all of our time hanging out with a widow processing her grief. The connection? Beats me! OK not really, because I have books and the internet to explain to me that the film swaps the political for the personal, navigating the contours of the chazm between liberty // love. Love makes you unfree: that shot with the reflection in the eye. You can't see for yourself anymore, you see through others. It's all a bit Rousseau, actually. ((Ah philosophy! Gotta be useful for something!)) And as the film's finale sings to us: love >>> everything else.
But really, I would have preferred it if Kieślowski had called this film something else, so it didn't have all this misleading baggage which doesn't add anything and merely distracts away from the otherwise quite beautiful story of someone learning to live and feel again. A lot of this is on Binoche, who does a marvelous job being by turns icy and vulnerable. I'm also sort of impressed by the sex-worker character, who didn't seem to be shaped by creepy male fantasies (call bullshit on this please, if you think otherwise). Actually, all the characters were handled elegantly. This film cuts the crap right out, so that every line is from the heart. That's refreshing. I liked everyone I met.
David Thomson hits on something when he describes this movie's 'pride and humourlessness' as 'crushing'. The story and themes do not reach Magnolia-size (BTW pretty much my fave non-genre film, I think). And yet Kieślowski is obv going for that level of grandness. It's a bit pretentious, in other words. Quite literally.
Did I just call a French art-house movie pretentious? Welcome to the Hothouse, friends! Sweltering with original insights and controversial opinions!