Billy Elliot

See "The Many Personalities of Blue" on page 48.

red: the rebel and the count

It is a relentless North wind, cold blue and wet. Two forms in red cloaks, one like a miniature of the other, struggle against it. The screen itself becomes agitated with red's intense presence. In a conservative gray village, it is about to become an agent of change. The cloaks belong to Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol), who come to the village to transform an unused pastry shop into a chocolaterie. The problem is it's Lent and all the villagers are, or should be, fasting.

We begin to understand why Lasse Hallstrom introduces us to Vianne wearing red. With the exception of violence, although she may indirectly provoke it, Vianne embodies red. She's defiant and romantic, lusty and angry, and she wears red shoes. Hallstrom makes certain we notice this. It's a set-up for what comes later.

The insular provincial town is completely in the grips of a control-freak mayor, Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), who is relentless in his attempt to eradicate any perceived threat to the religious and social order he has designed for its inhabitants. Le Comte perceives his tiny domain in black and white. (He also wears black and white through most of the movie.) Things are either his way or they are against the laws of God. When the wind that announces the arrival of Vianne blows open the doors of the church and lets in the daylight, Le Comte, who has the somber presence of an undertaker, marches authoritatively to the back and closes the doors to the outside.

turquoise: the emotional gulf stream

Vianne transforms the dilapidated patisserie into an island of humanism in this ocean of cobblestone grayness. With a grand sweep of a brush full of paint the warm color of the Mayan Caribbean, she activates something that goes far beyond the confines of the walls of the little shop. This blue is warmed with green and its warmth makes it appear to come forward. (In our explo-

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