Before reading this part, I was never really aware of how the using of lights and change of lights effects the mood and meaning of a shot. After reading, I watched the movie Three Colours: Blue (1993, Krzysztof Keislowski) and found many examples of how the director uses this technique in his movies. Here are a few examples:
In the first scene, we see a car driving in the dark on a highway, in the back is a girl looking at all the lights and dreaming away. Since I knew the girl was going to die in a car crash a bit later, these lights and scene symbolise how life is just passing her by and that these are the last lights that she might see.
Because the first shots were taken at night, you can draw the conclusion that the family must have driven all through the night when the next scenes are taken at dusk. There is a thick fog. In the scenes before we already saw liquid leaking from the brakes, in these scenes it becomes clear that he is driving way too fast and that the visibility is almost nihil. The following scene the car lights are off and everything stops.
After Julie looses her husband and daughter in the accident, she has difficulty facing reality and wants to isolate herself completely from her former life, contacts and other people. In the following scene the light of the crystals of the lamp that used to be her daughters is reflected on her face while a friend enters her home and is looking for her. She doesn't respond to her friend at all. This shows how she is all consumed and isolated by the loss of her child and husband. It took me some time to realise what it was that was reflecting on her face, I like how this use of light adds to the unknown and sad feeling she must have experienced.
Here Juliette goes outside to enjoy the sunshine for the first time after the loss of her family. It is the turning point in the movie where she is starting to come back to her former self and starts building up relationships again. All of a sudden the sun is reflected brightly in her face.
As you can see, there are a lot of scenes where we can just see Julie's face with different lighting on it, the camera closes up on her often to shed a light on how she's feeling and where she is on her road of healing. In the next scene we see her standing in front of her closet where a rat has a nest with babies. She is really scared of them, but doesn't have the strength to kill them. So she borrows her neighbour's cat, puts it in the closet and closes the door. This scene is an other symbol for how she is shielding herself from the outside world. With the scene shot from the closet, the door is literally closed on the viewer.
This movie, actually all three from the trilogy are full of similar examples of how lighting, colour and sound are used in creating a certain atmosphere and sound. I could watch them again and again and discover new things all the time.