INTERVIEW: ‘What makes you angry?’ How we made Three Colours: Red

May 4, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This interview is a republication- Source: The Guardian (by Phil Hoad and Zuzanna Dassonville).

Krzysztof Piesiewicz, screenwriter

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, with liberty seemingly on the horizon, I had gone to the Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski with the idea of making a trilogy about the three ideals of the French revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity. Each were to be represented by the three colours of the French flag: red, white and blue. Fraternity, the theme of the final film Red, is a complex issue.

For the script, I included references to some of my idols, including the writer Albert Camus. One of my favourite books of his is The Fall, and Joseph – the retired judge whose dog gets run over in Red – is partly based on the book’s young judge. As for his eavesdropping, Krzysztof had come back from Japan with one of the first cordless phones. When we plugged it in, somehow we could hear the neighbours on the first floor.

There was a lengthy casting process for the role of Valentine, the model who confronts the judge whose dog she hit. But Irène Jacob, who we had worked with on The Double Life of Véronique, was the best candidate. On the shoot in Geneva, I had a feeling that something important was happening, but it was in the editing room afterwards that Krzysztof’s genius came into its own.

I think the trilogy is even more relevant today. The EU is a beautiful project: I was very sad when the UK left. The great challenge it faces over the coming decades is how to balance freedom and justice. I feel society is at a turning point. I don’t think a piece of art can directly influence politics, but it can influence the minds of its audience. And if enough are responsive to what you’re trying to communicate, there’s a chance that your message will hit a critical mass – and change can begin.

Read the full interview here

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