WHO’S IN IT?
Adèle Exarchopoulos (The Round Up), Léa Seydoux (Inglourious Basterds), Jérémie Laheurte (Punk), Salim Kechiouche (Criminal Lovers), Catherine Salée (Private Property), Aurélien Recoing (13 Tzameti), Benjamin Siksou (The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch), Mona Walravens (My Way), Alma Jodorowsky (Eyes Find Eyes)
WHO’S BEHIND THE CAMERA?
Abdellatif Kechiche (Black Venus), director, writer, producer; Ghalia Lacroix (Games of Love and Chance), writer, editor; Brahim Chioua (Enter The Void) and Vincent Maraval (Only God Forgives), producers; Sofian El Fani (The String), cinematographer; Sophie Brunet (Safe Conduct), Albertine Lastera (Mobile Home), Jean-Marie Lengelle (Eat, for This Is My Body) and Camille Toubkis (Couscous), editors
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
15-year-old schoolgirl Adèle (Exarchopoulos) aspires to pursue a teaching career, but her life begins to turn upside down when she comes into contact with some natural sexual desires. These all kick into overdrive when she meets Emma (Seydoux), an art student at a local college with striking blue hair, with whom Adèle embarks on a romantic odyssey that spans a decade but consumes both women in a display of affection and love…
WHY SHOULD YOU BE EXCITED?
The latest in a long life of films to receive the prestigious Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Blue Is The Warmest Colour’s win was notable because not only did the recipient include director Abdellatif Kechiche but, in a rare move, its two lead actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux as well. It definitely struck a chord with the jury, especially with jury head Steven Spielberg, enough so to bestow the festival’s top honours to people behind and in front of the camera.
If anything, it goes to show how much of a collaborative process film can sometimes be. Directors cannot always rely solely on their vision to make a film work; that responsibility needs to extend to the talent we are seeing on screen. Exarchopoulos and Seydoux are said to do unbelievable work in bringing their respective characters to life, resulting in an even balance being created. Kechiche brings the style; Exarchopoulos and Seydoux bring the substance. Combined, it creates one hell of a powerful love story.
The evolution in gay cinema has reached a pivotal point this year, with films like Behind The Candelabra and Any Day Now also providing strong bonds between two people of the same gender. It’s all the more relieving that the newest additions to this year’s bunch keep getting stronger and stronger, with Blue Is The Warmest Colour perhaps being the most talked-about since its win at Cannes.
However, some of the reasons it’s been talked about so much have been due to the film’s all-too-many controversies. An extended sex scene between the two female protagonists has been instrumental in giving it a cursed NC-17 rating in the States, severely limiting its audience and widening appeal. In addition, while the film had been tipped for Oscar glory in the Best Foreign Language Film category, it has been deemed ineligible for the prize due to an early release in its native country of France that’s too far apart for a qualifying run during awards season. But the most notable has been a harsh and increasingly ugly war of words between the director and stars, sparked by the latter speaking out against Kechiche’s demanding shooting techniques and intensified when a bitter telling-off by Kechiche at a later press event drove Seydoux to tears. This backlash went so far as to the director not wanting his film to even be released because of the negative press it had since received (though he later backtracked his comments), and later hinting at possible legal action against Seydoux for her comments.
This might all sound like the wrong reasons to mention in why Blue Is The Warmest Colour is worth getting excited over, but consider this: when a film such as this one creates such a buzz, be it positive or negative, how can you not be even remotely curious to see what all the fuss is about?