Criterion spreads a number of supplements over the three discs in the set, with the supplements on each disc looking primarily (though not entirely) at their respective films. Redís supplements, which I find to be the best overall in the set, start with a video essay by Dennis Lim appropriately titled On Red. Even though itís possibly the driest of the video essays found in this set he still delivers a fairly thorough examination of the film, going over its theme of fraternity and the many connections presented throughout the film, which includes the heavy use of phones. He also of course looks at the use of red in the film, and is the only one in the essays (that I can recall) who actually points out the old woman and the recycling bin that is used in all of the films, mentioning how her uses fit the theme of each film. It may be my least favourite of the essays Criterion has included but itís still a worthwhile addition.
Yet again we get another Kieslowski Cinema Lesson, this one running 8-minutes. Like the other segments found on the other discs Kieslowski breaks down a scene, this time the sequence where the dog Rita runs off. While showing the scene at an editing suite he talks about how this scene was put together, trimming off smaller acts which didnít really move anything forward. He also talks about how he likes to work backwards, so to speak, by showing things and then reference them later to have the audience recall them. Like the other segments it offers an intriguing look into the filmmakerís process and it ends up being one of the stronger features on the set.
Criterion has next recorded a 16-minute interview with actress Irene Jacob who talks to great length about the various layers found in the film and in her character, the relationship her character had with the Judge, and then talks quite a bit about the director of photography, Piotr Sobocinski, and his important contribution to the film. Much more thoughtful and analytical than what Iím usually used to from interviews with the actors and makes another great inclusion.
An older 2001 interview with producer Marin Karmitz is included next. Running 11-minutes he talks about one of the more intriguing aspects of the production involving how they got the apartment used for Valentineís home (involving giving the tenant what amounted to a 2-month paid vacation) and then talks about how Kieslowski could convey so much information within a single image. The most intriguing part of the interview, though, would probably revolve around the Academy Awards and how the film was rejected initially only to be allowed in after many around Hollywood started petitions to get it in. Though it feels like itís made up of clips of a longer interview itís an entertaining interview.
Even better is an interview of sorts with editor Jacques Witta, also taken in 2001, who talks a little about editing the film, even showing us some deleted sequences in the process, claiming they were cutting out ďpointlessĒ material. This is more or less true but thereís a couple of sequences that prove of interest, such as an extended bit at the end involving Valentineís brother. He also talks about and shows how heís able to ďcheatĒ in editing to hide things the director doesnít like and to also better shape the narrative. The piece runs over 13-minutes.
Behind the Scenes of Red offers behind-the-scene footage of certain sequences and then shows the finished sequence afterwards, including the conversation between Valentine and the Judge close to the end, an early scene introducing us to Valentineís apartment, the photo shoot, the scene where Auguste sees his ex at the restaurant, along with a few others. It proves fairly fascinating but the best sequences involve the more complicated shots, like the apartment scene which made fairly advanced use of a crane camera.
Kieslowski Cannes 1994 is 15-minutes worth of footage from Cannes, including interviews with Kieslowski, Jacob, and Jean-Louis Trintgnant. The two actors talks about working with Kieslowski while Kieslowski covers various topics, but we also get footage where Kieslowski announces his retirement from filmmaking. Itís a fine inclusion, though doesnít get any better than better-than-average promotional material.
But the real gem to the supplements here, and possibly the strongest item in the box set, is the 55-minute documentary Krzysztof Kieslowski: Iím So-SoÖ, which is essentially an interview with the director recorded in 1996. The interview was done by friend Krzysztof Wierzbicki and he and the director cover a wide range of subjects on his life and work and heís surprisingly open. They go through a selection of his films, including his experimental Talking Heads (which is one of the documentaries found on the White disc), Camera Buff, The Decalogue, Red, and The Double Life of Veronique to an extent. Kieslowski isnít the most animated subject, so the documentary isnít all that lively, but out of all of the material found in this set this is the most forward the director gets, feeling comfortable with his interviewer, and itís wonderful Criterion has included it here.
The disc then closes with the theatrical trailer. The set also comes with a booklet with essays about the trilogy and then each film in the set.
In all a solid collection, despite the lack of a commentary (even though there is one out there.) The supplements cover the film beautifully, and we also get a more in-depth look at the director. 9/10