Not many three-hour foreign movies arrive with as much adulation and controversy as Blue Is The Warmest Colour. With incredibly glowing reviews and the Cannes Palm d’Or in in its pocket, it then managed to gain extra notoriety due to a falling out between the lead actresses and the director over how difficult it was to work with him. The controversy was slightly manufactured as a few comments made about the intensity of both Kechiche and the how he makes his movies became a major bust-up in the press, which the director then made 10 times worse by taking it far more personally than it was ever meant to be. [Read more…]
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.
Blue Is The Warmest Color is definitely an intriguing film. It won the Palm d’Or, but garnered controversy over its graphic lesbian sex scenes. Even the film’s two main actresses have sometimes seemed to be in two minds about the movie – proud of its success but finding it incredibly difficult to ignore how tough it was to make.
An October US release is set, with the film coming to the UK in November.
Ahead of that, a new trailer has arrived – and as is the way with both foreign film and gay themed movies, there’s no dialogue (because apparently nobody would watch anything that wasn’t in English) and it’s unclear whether the characters are straight or not (because nobody would watch a movie about two women in love if it wasn’t purely about titillating straight men). If you can’t tell, we’re not desperately impressed with this promo, even if the images are pretty.
Here’s the synopsis: ‘At 15, Adele doesn’t question it: a girl goes out with boys. Her life is turned upside down the night she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself, finds herself…’ Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopolis star in the movie, and it was a lengthy sex scene between the two that got people talking at Cannes [Read more…]