Blue is the Warmest Colour (18)

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
Starring Lea Sedoux, Adele Exarchopoulos

Raw and powerful with fantastic performances, especially from remarkable young Adele Exarchopoulos in this slightly too long, but engrossing drama. And yes there is a lot of sex too! Not for the prudish ;)
This film shows the heartbreak and the highs and lows of first love so well. The amazing performances and the authenticity of the conversations - sometimes banal, often rambling - like real life is! - really draw you into the film.
Adele and Emma really are from different worlds, different classes. Adele’s search for love and meaning to her life lead her to the worldly and captivating blue haired Emma. Her fresh faced beauty inspires Emma but the girls have different values and ambitions and despite a healthy sex life, things fall apart in a painful, agonising way. So beautiful but heart breaking and all on the face of young Adele Exarchopoulos who deserves to be a huge star.
There has been a huge kerfuffle since the director and two stars jointly won the Palm D'Or at Cannes in 2013. Since then, the actors have revealed the directors uncompromising and bullying behaviour on set - nothing new in the film world. However, Lea Sedoux in particular, as the more experienced actor has been quite outspoken about how difficult it was.
There has also been a bit of a backlash over the very graphic sex scenes. With director and both star being heterosexual, some have felt that the scenes were unrealistic and gratuitous, made for the male gaze - and adored by largely male film critics!
I do wonder whether this film would have received the attention it did if it wasn't notorious as the one with the 20 min lesbian sex scene. (It's about 8 mins actually) However, the whole film is so earthy and real. You can SEE the snot when Adele sobs, you want to wipe their chins when they are scarfing down pasta, Lea Sedoux's tansparent eyelashes are crying out for mascara but there is no make up. The film lingers on the everyday scenes so it is not out of character of the film to linger on the sex scenes.
However, this is a film that lasts almsot 3 hours - not too long but this film is definitely unevenly paced. The original Frnech title is 'The life of Adele parts 1 & 2'. Part 1 is presumably Adele meeting and falling for Emma and the start of their relationship. It is wonderful, painful, raw and honest.
Part 2 is presumably the part where we see Adele as a grown up, living with Emma, working as a teacher and the..


.. breakdown of the relationship. It is horrible and painful. But also raw and honest. However, I wasn't sure about the characters' actions several times in this section. Emma is shown to be pretty self-centred and selfish. However, Adele seems to rather quickly leap into bed with someone else! The way the relatioship breaks down is not the strongest part of the narrative for me. Yes, there are many reasons for breakups and this film is maybe being more honest that even the most epic seeming love affairs can break up for the most banal reasons - inattention, infidelity, incompatibility.
Through it all, Adele Exarchopoulos is just amazing. She was only 18 or 19 I think when this was filmed and her face tells the story so well. No matter whether his methods were extreme, Kechiche draws fantastic performances from both actresses and I loved this film.

November 2013

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