Back in May, Blue Is The Warmest Color hit one of cinema’s biggest highs, scoring the Palm d’Or and the Cannes Film Festival. However since then there has been a fair amount of controversy, much of it surrounding an explicit 10-minute lesbian sex scene between the two main characters.
The sex itself hasn’t been the issue, but how it was filmed. It apparently took 10 days to shoot, and while the actresses used prosthetics so it’s not quite a real as it might look, it was gruelling and difficult for the women – something they haven’t been shy talking about.
The controversy has apparently taken it toll on director Abdellatif Kechiche, who told Telerama (via Huffington Post), “I think this film should not go out, it was too dirty. The Palme d’Or was a brief moment of happiness, then I felt humiliated, disgraced. I felt a rejection of me, I live like a curse.”
That certainly fits the description many have given of Kechiche being a temperamental (and rather hyperbyolic) man. For example, Actress Lea Seydoux has talked about a scene where they were asked for over a hundred takes. “I walked by Adele and laughed a little bit, because we had been walking by each other doing this stare-down scene all day. It was so, so funny,” she says. “And [Kechiche] became so crazy that he picked up the little monitor he was viewing it through and threw it into the street, screaming, ‘I can’t work under these conditions!”
Co-star Adele Exarchopoulos has talked about the difficulties of the sex scene and how the actresses were unprepared for it. “Once we were on the shoot, I realized that he really wanted us to give him everything,” Exarchopoulos says. “Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful — you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act.”
Kechiche has previously attacked both women’s version of event, not saying it wasn’t difficult, but saying they should shut up because it’s “Indecent to talk about pain when doing one of the best jobs in the world”. Now he seems a bit more defeated, with some suggesting this is because while the Cannes win initially seemed like a major boost for Abdellatif Kechiche, the ensuing controversy over his actions on the set (and his rather petulant, slight chauvinistic response to them) may actually end up meaning it would have been better for him if he hadn’t won the Palm d’Or at all.