White is the middle segment of Krzyzstof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy. The white stripe of the French flag stands for equality; Kieslowski spins this concept into a story of the equality, or lack thereof, of a husband and wife whose marriage has collapsed before the film has even begun. Karol Karol is a Polish hairdresser whose skills have won him awards and the affections of a young French woman named Dominique who marries him and moves him to Paris. But Karol doesn't really take to France. He'd rather set up shop back in Poland, but Dominique is unwilling to go with him. So she's on her home turf, he isn't on his, and this inequality makes their relationship go sour. Eventually Karol finds himself in divorce court in front of a judge whose language he barely understands; not only will Dominique not reconcile with him, she arranges things so he finds himself out on the street with the police after him. It is only through a series of misadventures that Karol makes it home to Warsaw.

White is basically a comedy, albeit one of the "life has its droll moments" school rather than the "ha ha that guy farted" variety. It's also amusing how Karol, who for the first half of the film seems like little more than a clown, quickly proves himself a fellow to be reckoned with back on his home soil, taking a few gambles in newly capitalist Poland that pay off quite nicely. I remembered being bored by White when I first saw it a decade ago but this time around I quite enjoyed it.

Naturally, the impasse over who gets to stay where he or she is comfortable and who has to live as an expatriate was of more than academic interest to me. It is funny. Up until the mid-90s I worried that my soulmate was in South Dakota or someplace and I would never know it. It turns out that ignorance is only half the problem. The bright side of living in the Internet age is that I'm not limited to the people who happen to live in my town when it comes to making connections with people; the flip side is that everyone I care about lives about a hundred light-years from everyone else I care about. It seems that life will pretty much suck in this regard until teleportation is invented. Let's get Tim Berners-Lee working on that.

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