The US media is going crazy about director-actress spats in Blue is the Warmest Color. Lets make something very clear. In Hollywood actors are afraid to complain and bitch to the press about their director. It would be career suicide. You’ve seen all the boring press junkets with the same lines spoken by every Hollywood actor – “It was the greatest experience of my life,” “I loved working with him.” It’s all publicty bullshit. You don’t get to hear about what really went on until years after. Now here we have French actresses in a foreign country saying what they like without Hollywood restrictions.
Director Abdellatif Kechiche’s lesbian masterpiece Blue is the Warmest Color walked away with not one Palme d’Or earlier this year but in a first for the Cannes festival, the two leading actresses were awarded one of the film worlds most prestigious prizes.
Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux performances are quite breathtaking in their realism and their warmth as characters who happen to be both lesbians. For this is a first love and love lost story which anyone can relate to. The films three hours doesn’t seem to be enough as Kechiche draws us in to Adele’s ordinary life in high school, love at first sight, her sexual orientation, immersion into Seydoux’s artist life, her own work as a school teacher and a perhaps inevitable break up as their two different worlds collide.
What is freshest of all is the depiction of lesbian life. It’s sexual, it’s ordinary, it’s domestic and sometimes secret. But while Kechiche’s story is about two women in love, the being gay factor doesn’t dictate plot. There are no deaths or lesbian vampires. What I loved about the film and Adele’s character were the similarities in my growing up and coming out. The sex and the domesticity are all too familiar but so is keeping part of ones life a secret.
And what about the talked about ten minute sex scene? Well, I can understand the length as Kechiche’s other scenes are also long and involved so skipping past these scenes would put it out of whack. But after five minutes I did start to feel distracted. These sex scenes because they are sex scenes don’t draw us into the plot or the characters. We get it. We know they are having sex, lets get back to the story.
Blue is the Warmest Color is still doing the rounds of the festival circuit but will be on general release in cinemas in October, a fact that has prevented it from qualifying in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards next year. Exarchopoulos and Seydoux however, could be in contention for Best Actress Oscarsbut we will have to wait and see.
Blue is the Warmest Color – US release October 25th
To celebrate 125 years of the National Geographic magazine excellence in photography and environmental storytelling, the Annenberg Space for Photography is curating what promises to be one of the largest multimedia exhibitions of its kind with hundreds of images on display: including print, digital instillations and documentary films. The sheer scale of the exhibition, which coincides with October’s National Geographic’s commemorative magazine, will no doubt warrant more than one visit.
I spoke to Patricia Lanza, Director of Talent and Content at Annenberg Space for Photography, about possibly one of the largest photography exhibitions of its kind.
GL: Congratulations on putting together and presenting what appears to be a rather dauntingly large exhibition of photography and multimedia. The sheer numbers of images on display, the videos and film – to actually whittle it down to 400 historical images from the National Geographic and the 500-plus images in the digital installation must have been a long, yet enjoyable process.
How long has the planning taken?
PL: The planning has taken over a year.
GL: Are the images categorized in the their own subheadings: such as people, country, endangered, photographer, etc?
PL: The images are in thematic sections:
America (general themes)
and the October 2103 Issue. October is the anniversary month for both National Geographic Magazine and the National Geographic Society, so there will be images from one of the world’s greatest repositories of photojournalism, as well as new material being commissioned for the October issue of the magazine.
GL: Is there any indication from this huge exhibition that the printed edition of National Geographic is coming to a close?
PL: No. This exhibition was a way to show some of the scope and depth of National Geographic’s 125-year collection – not just the iconic images but whole stories. NGS is famous for its storytelling journalism and this is a spectacular way of highlighting that.
GL: Will we learn of future developments within National Geographic from this exhibition?
PL: This is a very innovative and forward-looking way to experience an exhibition. Nophotography exhibition has been done on this scale in this way, mainly because until now, the technology for presentation on video screens wasn’t up to the quality of displaying it on a video monitor. This opens the door for a different way to experience photography of this caliber.
GL: What do you hope people will learn from The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years?
PL: The importance of having a photographic history of all forms of life on earth and beyond; the importance of how photography can alter your way of thinking and start a dialogue and the importance and immeasurable value of what photography and photojournalism contribute to our awareness and our consciousness.
GL: Thank you for your time. I can’t wait to see the exhibition.
Annenberg Space for Photography Presents
The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years
October 26, 2013 – April 27, 2014
Open free to the public, Wednesdays thru Sundays.
Please check website for hours, transportation and parking directions.
Iris Night Lecture Series free to public on first come-first served basis.
All Iris Night Lectures take place in our new Skylight Studios located across
the lawn from the Photography Space.
This interview also appears in Ragazine.cc
Ginger Liu is a Photographer/Filmmaker/Writer. Based in Los Angeles, she travels extensively and is a long-time contributor to Ragazine.CC. You can read more about her in About Us, and on her blog and website and on Flickr.