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