By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated July 15, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

With White, the second in Blue, White and Red, the ruminative trilogy by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski (The Double Life of Veronique), we’re into the ”equality” portion of the exercise inspired by the tricolor French flag and motto ”Liberty, equality, fraternity.” (Last fall’s Blue, starring Juliette Binoche, explored liberty with all deliberate torpor; Red will be released later this year.) Equality for Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) — a Polish hairdresser in Paris whose wife of six months, Dominique (Julie Delpy), divorces him because he is impotent — is the opportunity to restore his self-esteem. Impoverished but enterprising, with a determination born of desperation, Karol returns to Poland; there he makes a fortune, recovers his vigor, and devises an elaborate plan to recalibrate the balance of power between himself and the beautiful woman who rejected him. There’s something earthy and elemental in this tale that was missing in Blue, something quirky and (measured by Kieslowskian standards) energetic. But there’s also something damp and brown, like the sodden Polish countryside he pictures, where equality consists of everyone having the same amount of not very much. B