Blue is the Warmest Colour
I recently watched the 2013 Cannes Film Festival award winning ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’. Having received the highest prize award ‘Palme d’Or’, ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ has had a number of reactions from critical acclaim to others finding it’s 10 minute long lesbian sex scene an unnecessary element in the Director, Abdellatif Kechiche’s, grueling aim for realism and perfection.
However coming from the perspective of not having seen any of the director’s previous films and knowing that it was a coming-of-age story based on a same sex relationship, I generally wasn’t sure how the storyline would unravel apart from the fact that I do have a love of French cinema.
I found that its consistent realism was an incredibly powerful tool. I connected with the main character, Adèle, and it felt like I was watching a real life documentary. This specifically manifested itself during the scenes of Adele crying; it was the kind of crying of heartbreak and loss, the type an audience can resonate with. It had no air of Hollywood drama and over acting. It felt as if the emotion was real and you felt her pain. The same effect goes into the scenes of Adele sleeping and eating. It’s a simple concept in terms of a film scene, however these are the moments in the film that make it so realistic, that before you know it you are sucked into her world. Realism within ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ not only comes through within the narrative of the relationship but also within the characters; Adele wants to be a teacher and Emma is a painter in the harsh economy of France, where the film discusses it’s personal effects on the lack of jobs due to the recession and the protests against it. Nothing is over fantastical and everything you witness is tangible. It allows you as the audience to relate.
The elements of realism seems to be a fundamental aspect of the Director’s aims and what I enjoyed initially is it doesn’t appear to be a gimmick about a lesbian couple and never particularly plays on it, whilst still managing to delve into the struggle of accepting one’s sexuality in a realistic scenario. It is more of an exploration of a person’s first real relationship, it’s high and lows and the love and loss, and this is something I felt was executed very well above anything else. However I do feel that this was somewhat undermined by the 10 minute long sex scene that seemed rather gratuitous and was there just for shock value. Whatever the reason for it, the length of time did feel a little too long but it did in a very basic way, showcase the level of passion and lust the couple had for one another that was also represented in other areas of the film in a much cleverly executed manner.
Overall I will recommend this film and I especially recommend it to those interested in French realism cinema to that of Un Prophète and La Vie en Rose. It is a slightly long film of three hours but it is a worthy piece of cinema non the less.