BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR: THE REVIEW

Salty Kernel, Andrew Brusentsev, got to review this one last year and was not very happy when it could not be included in his top 20 films of the year, unless released in the year I wouldn’t allow the film to be included. Alas he has waited until now and I am sure this will be in his top films for 2014, he loved it so much it scored his top rated perfect score of 5 pops. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes but missed out on Oscar nomination for best picture as it did not release in France prior to October 1, shame shame shame. Everyone is raving about it. BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR releases on FEB 13th with special advanced screenings at all Palace Cinemas on Feb 2nd, it is R18+ rated and runs for a whopping 187mins. Enjoy the review.

 

Blue is the Warmest Colour, Blue is the Warmest Color, Review, Salty Popcorn, Andrew Brusentsev, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Jeremie Laheurte, Catherine Salée, Aurélien Recoing, Sandor Funtek, Transmission Films, French Film, Abdellatif Kechiche
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Blue is the Warmest Colour took out the prestigious Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes film festival. So taken with the movie was the jury, and indeed the president Steven Speilberg, that they insisted that film maker Abdellatif Kechiche and his two stars stars, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos share in the walk to the podium and the honour.

The movie is based on the Julie Maroh’s graphic novel. It is important to state that Maroh was not at all impressed with Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix’s adaptation of her prose. There is a lot at play here I think. Maroh’s chief criticism – the fact that she believed the movie is a “straight man’s” interpretation of gay love. That controversy though was only the tip of the iceberg. Both Seydoux and Exarchopoulos have stated in countless interviews that Kechiche’s work schedule on the movie was grueling and he had an almost tyrannical control over the creative process. Some of the sex scenes took ten days to shoot.  I find it hard to comment on the first criticism being a straight man myself (although I actually think this gives the universality of the theme added strength). On the second criticism this is not a new comment made by many stars of many directors is it?

It is then a little surprising that the movie has been received so positively by both critics and audiences alike. Personally I think it is a true gem of film making, another landmark in European and French cinema.

 

Blue is the Warmest Colour, Blue is the Warmest Color, Review, Salty Popcorn, Andrew Brusentsev, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Jeremie Laheurte, Catherine Salée, Aurélien Recoing, Sandor Funtek, Transmission Films, French Film, Abdellatif Kechiche
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Adèle Exarchopoulos plays young naïve school girl, Adèle. She is effortlessly beautiful (the kind of girl that would have had me in high school walking into walls). She is smart, well read, friendly but in essence a very lonely teenager. That is not to say she does not have friends, she does, many of them indeed of both sexes. In fact at the beginning of the narrative she has a brief relationship with a boy with whom she has been sharing a flirtation with in the school yard. They have a brief relationship and a quick, earnest but passionate sexual encounter. This awakens something in Adèle, something that has been with her, that is hinted for a while. The audience has been given hints of her questioning of her sexuality, this encounter confirms it. This is where her true awakening begins.

She meets Emma, played by Léa Séydoux, after a night out at a gay men’s club accompanying her best friend. Sick of the atmosphere she leaves and crosses the street to a bar filled with women. It is a hip, trendy, lesbian bar and Adele is quickly noticed by one and all. Emma notices her from her position on the second level and comes down to the bar to talk to her. There is an instant connection between Emma and Adele. In fact as they meet over the next couple of days the connection turns from a small spark into an out of control raging firestorm.

 

Blue is the Warmest Colour, Blue is the Warmest Color, Review, Salty Popcorn, Andrew Brusentsev, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Jeremie Laheurte, Catherine Salée, Aurélien Recoing, Sandor Funtek, Transmission Films, French Film, Abdellatif Kechiche
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Emma introduces Adele to the sensual and the sexual. A world and experiences the younger Adele probably never dreamed existed. I would like to take some time out at this point to address Maroh’s criticism here.  It is true the sex scenes between the two are very explicit.  But I never got the sense that they were voyeuristic, exploitative or pornographic. To me they played a very crucial part in the character development and narrative of the movie. Not having read the graphic novel I am not sure how the author addressed the subject matter here. But full credit to the director and the two stars for being brave enough to show this. I wonder had it been two men or a man and a woman would there be such brouhaha or clucking from the chattering classes?

But like all intense love affairs things begin to cool. My favourite technique in the movie and perhaps the reasoning behind the title is that the ebbs and flows of the love affair change with Emma’s hair colour. In the beginning of the movie Emma’s hair is a vibrant blue as the affair moves from passion to the two sharing an apartment and therefore “real life” the colour begins to fade. There are subtle little things done really well, hints in the narrative. When we meet Emma’s parents the two are completely open about their relationship, in the reverse situation with Adele’s more conservative parents, Emma must pretend to have a boyfriend.

 

Blue is the Warmest Colour, Blue is the Warmest Color, Review, Salty Popcorn, Andrew Brusentsev, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Jeremie Laheurte, Catherine Salée, Aurélien Recoing, Sandor Funtek, Transmission Films, French Film, Abdellatif Kechiche
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Emma is more mature, artistic and lives for the sensual and the creative. Emma wants to be a painter and has no aspirations to a “normal’ job. As the film progresses it turns out that Adele is more practical, careerist and interested in securing both a good university career and a position as a pre-school teacher. It is these little things, the stark differences in outlook, friends and philosophies that begin to see the two eventually wash away almost as surely as Emma’s hair colour.

To Kechiche’s credit he does not try to tell the audience that this is young love, puppy love or naïve love. Rather it is just love. Vibrant, important, destructive, vindictive and selfish. It is all these things but also something so essential to anybody’s life. The ending is heartbreakingly ambiguous, a single long shot done so superbly I wanted to stand up and applaud. I won’t spoil it at all, but it is mesmerising.

 

Blue is the Warmest Colour, Blue is the Warmest Color, Review, Salty Popcorn, Andrew Brusentsev, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Jeremie Laheurte, Catherine Salée, Aurélien Recoing, Sandor Funtek, Transmission Films, French Film, Abdellatif Kechiche
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Kechiche, no matter the criticisms levelled against him, must be given full credit for his unwavering directorial vision.  His two stars are simply superb. The screenplay also adapted by Kechiche and Lacroix gives us tight and brilliant dialogue. The cinematography of Sofian El Fani should be given praise as well.

I found this film faultlessly perfect.

 

5 Pops