Wednesday 12 March 2014

Blue Is The Warmest Color

I’ve just finished watching ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’ and I am fairly sure I am not the same person coming out, no pun intended, as I was going in. It stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux as two lovely people and is directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, who was told off for the methods he employed to make this film authentic.  Methods like those used in experiments where they discovered things about the human psychology by torturing people, and it comes across Kechiche’s Machiavellian as terrifyingly effective because this film is outstanding, and I dislike most films, so you know when I say it’s a good one that it is a very good one.

Now it’s probably fair to say that I know less about what it means to be in a lesbian relationship than anyone in the world, but this film feels so realistic I expected the girls to start asking me questions in the bar scenes, or telling me to get out of their bedroom during the extensive sex scenes, which are very extensive and we’ll get there soon enough. In short this film is absolutely the Frenchest French film I have ever seen, and each single second made me leap with joy or weep with sorrow and my heart nearly exploded in my chest every step of the way.

Adèle is the protagonist of the film and is so called because, whether asleep or eating food, the director filmed seemingly constantly her to get that sense of realism.  So Adèle is in school, and her friends are very much into talking about and having sex with as many boys as they possibly can.  They put a lot of pressure onto our heroine and it made me quite sad, especially when she caves and does some guy that likes her because of peer pressure, disgusting herself and breaking the poor man’s heart.  It’s at this point it becomes quite clear that Adèle is gay and she has a chance encounter with the French female version of James Dean in a gay.  She ends up talking to this girl, Emma (Léa Seydoux), and instantly a deep connection is made, and a lot of answers to questions she didn’t previously understand suddenly make themselves clear.

Emma comes to meet Adèle in school a few days later and they discuss philosophy and art and the future and because she is gay and finally happy (her friends are all awful people) she gets ostracised in school and into a fight.  At some point while out together Adèle and Emma share their first kiss with a slow stuttering excitement, little micro movements towards each other’s faces, the sudden feeling of desire drowning out the fear of rejection followed by the strange, and yet satisfying feeling that both characters clearly feel very strongly for each other.  It’s at this point where Kechiche does something quite odd and inserts a ten-minute sex scene, clumsy, and passionate like you’d expect from a first time but it goes on for quite a while.  It took ten hours to record and both actresses have vowed never to work for him ever again.

The contrast between their parents are also depressingly real with Emma’s parents being understanding, open minded, very arty and encouraging, happy to celebrate the love of their child with someone else by having a massive oyster feast with loads of wine and the like.  Whereas Adèle’s are not told about the relationship and gently berate Emma’s choices of working as an artist to make a living.  Time moves on and the girls are living together, Adèle starts working at a school, teaching children, which is all she’s ever wanted to do, and Emma continues her painting.  After meeting lots of Emma’s friends Adèle realises she has very little in common with them and becomes increasingly aware of the differences between her and Emma.  The relationship starts to fall to bits and this causes Adèle to cheat on Emma with a man she works with.  Watching a beautiful relationship between two beautiful French girls fall apart after something like this feels like watching a unicorn die. An ambiguous end for them both soon follows.

The performances from both girls in this film are outstanding, nothing short of perfect, I have never been so drawn in by a film, at three hours it is no short story but there is not a single second of it you would cut out,  (except maybe some of the sex scenes, but then maybe not).  The school children in Adèle’s class learning to write, the seemingly pointless dialogue between friends, everything is necessary and this film deserves to be in everyone’s collection.  Also it’s based on a graphic novel, making it the best comic film adaptation of all time.

Blue is the Warmest Colour gets a 5/5, []

David Roberts

Guns, Girls and Gambling at CeX

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