As a young screenwriter, impressionable and ambitious, I was capable of soaking up inspiration like a sponge. Beyond the passion for writing and watching and talking about and thinking about films, the whole screenwriting process was still a huge learning curve. My feet were still being found and my own artistic style was yet to be fully discovered.
Those who knew me back then, read my words, probably know I was influenced by the likes of Hal Hartley, Whit Stillman, Jean-Luc Godard, and still am today some twenty plus years on. Perhaps one filmmaker imprinted his genius into my creative soul more than any other.
In 1994, a friend and I went to the local single screen cinema to witness a motion picture I fell head over heels in love with. I mean, this was no multiplex movie, so we were lucky to have this tiny alternative venue to watch the non-English films. The Mike Leigh films, the rare-and-never-to-be-forgotten films. That screen is no longer there now, hasn’t been for years, and that really is a sad thing indeed as it was a nifty little gem of a cinema.
Regardless, the film in question stayed with me, as one of the finest, most evoking film experiences I have ever had, slotting its way easily into my all-time top ten. Where it has comfortably remained for over 20 years. The friend I saw the movie with, if I recall correctly, claimed within minutes of leaving the cinema that it might well be the best film is has ever seen.
“I carried so much of what greatness I’d seen under the skin of my potential body of work.”
As my short films morphed into feature length screenplays over the college years, and into university, I carried so much of what greatness I’d seen under the skin of my potential body of work. The influences on my screenwriting came without my hardly realizing.
In Out of Blue, the young female protagonist puts herself through a hefty exercise routine, before glugging down a lot of water, spilling some down herself. In Beautiful Friend, the young model has a photo shoot, then discusses some of the images of her face with her photographer – later her image is printed on a huge billboard.
In Ellousie, the title character, a young sorrowful woman, wanders through a quiet house, looking for the older, down-hearted, reclusive man. There will be friction between them at first, but they’ll grow close. In A Gentle Rise and Fall, the central male character is called Red. Inspiration emerges in many forms.
Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colors: Red is the masterpiece sitting alongside his collection of seminal films. Every frame, line of dialogue, every glance, look, piece of music, every emotion evoked – I mean, this is cinematic perfection. Every Kieślowski film I have seen holds a special place somewhere for me, Red is the cream of the crop.
Never is blatant reflections of beautiful colours distracting or contrived, often creeping up on you. The Three Colours trilogy display moments of sheer visual brilliance, Kieślowski’s collaborations with his cinematographers strikes gold again. In my life as a film-lover there has been nobody quite like Kieślowski to really dominate my heart and soul.
The Three Colors series is an astonishing, harrowing, thought-provoking wave of emotional depiction and visual splendor. The Polish great utilizes music like never before in his extensive filmography, both non-digetic, and directly within the story, to portray grief, identity, isolation, progress, a barrage of themes as is custom for Kieślowski. A dynamic, unrivaled filmmaker.
So, the following key moments from the three films (Blue; White; Red) – and there are hundreds and hundreds of them – commemorate the great man we lost 23 years ago. I thought it extremely apt to pluck 54 (his age when passing) for your admiration. Still so much sorrow to say farewell to this man, but my oh my is he still fueling this cinephile: