Watch Two Clips From Palme d’Or Winner ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ + Learn More About the Film
Back in October when I interviewed French actress Lea Seydoux, the conversation turned towards her experience working with a vast array of directors, to which she spoke about her latest project:
…the film I just finished a month ago, it was very very intense. Abdellatif Kechiche, the director, he’s a very respected French director but he fascinates people also because he’s not really connected to the world of cinema people; he’s a little bit marginal. Maybe his method is like…Lars von Trier. And so that experience was very big for me. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, I’m scared. But those kind of experiences, you have to adapt yourself to become very strong.
And of course, now we know she was talking about Kechiche latest epic film, La Vie D’Adèle – Chapitre1 & 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color), the raw, emotional, and seuxally-charged lesbian drama—which not only premiered at Cannes last week, but yesterday won the coveted cinematic achievement, the Palme d’Or. With most people assuming the Coen Brothers’ folksy tale Inside Llewyn Davis would take home the award, it was a surprise to find that the female-centric three-hour explicit drama won—but it seemed like a welcome and pleasant surprise to everyone. And with Steven Spielberg at the head of the Cannes Jury is this year, it was decided that not only would Kechiche receive the prize, but he would share it with his two leading actresses Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
Speaking to the nature of portraying sexuality in the film, The Hollywood Reporter writes that the film:
…once the two girls get into bed together, they forge a sexual bond that Kechiche captures in ways few directors have done before him, allowing their lovemaking to play out in extended takes that definitely cross the barrier between performance and the real deal. Yet, the bedroom scenes are a far cry from softcore porn or art-house exploitation: what they show — amid various positions, moaning and exposed flesh (not to mention suggestive oyster slurping, in one playful sequence) — is that sex and love can, in the best cases, become one and the same, uniting two people who might actually have less in common than they believe.
And that Blue is:
Less concerned with classic storytelling than with creating virtual performance pieces on screen, the film features dozens of extended sequences of Adele and Emma both in and out of bed—scenes that are virtuously acted and directed, even if they run on for longer than most filmmakers would allow. But such a technique is precisely why Kechiche belongs in the same camp as John Cassavetes or Maurice Pialat, eschewing narrative concision in favor of the messy realities of life, and creating works that can be as ambitiously bloated as they are emotionally jarring.