‘Three Colours: White’ 1994

Polish immigrant Karol Karol finds himself out of a marriage, a job and a country when his French wife, Dominique, divorces him after six months due to his impotence. Forced to leave the France after losing the business they jointly owned, Karol enlists fellow Polish expatriate to smuggle him back to their homeland. After successfully returning, Karol begins to build his new life, while never forgetting his old one.

Three Colours White, the second part of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s trilogy based on the colours of the French flag and upon the precepts of liberty, freedom and equality, is the easiest of the three films to negotiate but by no means the least in weight. It’s the kind of comedy only a hopeful pessimist could have made and, if that sounds like a contradiction in terms, you don’t know Kieslowski very well.

The film, like most of Kieslowski’s which deal with Poles and Poland, is less headily stylish than Blue or Red, made in France and Switzerland respectively. But it feels somehow truer, as if the director instinctively knows how his characters should react and can thus afford a more direct, less elliptical approach. And it contains not only a superbly self-effacing but apt performance from Zamachowski, first as the damaged exile and then as the conquering entrepreneur at home, but also a strikingly deft portrait of post-communist Poland, where the most baleful kind of capitalism reigns and it’s every dirty dog for himself