Director's colors come out mixed

”Three Colors: Blue, White, Red” (Criterion Collection, Blu-ray, 3 discs, $79.95; DVD, 4 discs, $59.95)

Following the international success of his extraordinary “Double Life of Veronique” (also available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion), Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941-1996) made his final work, the trilogy “Three Colors,” released in 1993 and 1994. Each film allegedly examines one element of the French motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” although the thematic correspondence seems strained. It's best, but not essential, to watch all three in order, but each is fully independent, outside of the actors — who include Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Irene Jacob and Jean-Louis Trintignant — showing up in passing in each other's entries. “Blue” stands with Krzysztof Kieslowski Veronique, and “Red” comes close; only “White,” the middle film — a rare Kieslowski attempt at comedy — is a bit disappointing.

The DVDs released by Miramax in 2002 had a decent image and a lot of extras. The Criterion is superior in all ways, though perhaps not enough to demand that owners of the old discs upgrade. Even judging by the DVDs (not the Blu-rays), the new versions have better color balance and more detail. Most of the old extras are repeated here, though a few are omitted. Criterion has added enough new material — including fresh interviews with Kieslowski's key collaborators and an hourlong documentary about the director — to justify a fourth disc of extras, in addition to the stuff accompanying each film.

--Andy Klein

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