Monday, 6 January 2014


Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche


It’s not a leading actor spoiling close-ups or a cameraman shooting from ill-advised angles. It’s a lot more mixed-up than that. It’s like nourishing pineapple juice ruining your teeth. In case of Abdellatif Kechiche’s new film, it’s questions, hundreds of questions running riot in your head. Sadly, these are not always ‘deep’ questions that you drag out of ‘deep’ movies. These questions are really quite basic.

The key one being, what if it wasn’t about two lesbian girls, but about a boy and a girl? Would anyone care?

While that may not seem like a legitimate question, I’m afraid it is. I don’t mind the gay awareness issue and likewise I'm okay with the fact that one of the girls just had to work with kids, but the story definitely counts, and in a film lasting three hours you have to offer infinitely more than passionate filmmaking (very crude in places) and brilliant acting (both Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos are sensational, especially Adele). Which is what the rather predictable plot of Blue Is The Warmest Colour fails to do and which is where the sex scenes have to come into play.

Were they necessary, did they have to be so graphic and did that scene have to last 7 minutes?

If one has to put a label on it, those scenes are softcore pornography. The bitter truth is that without those scenes the film could end up ordinary. With them – it’s admittedly rather gross, and you don’t even have to be a prude. No, the scenes are justified. The problem is that they don’t make the film any better. They are Lars von Trier’s area, they were meant to be provocative

The film isn’t bad, crucially. While ups may be trampled and brutally abused by downs, Blue Is The Warmest Colour is a perfect example of European cinema. It’s one thing watching elves slaughtering orcs over three hours, and it’s an entirely different proposition being headbanged into stark-naked (often literally) reality over the same period of time. The film is gutsy and overpowering, and it gets you in the end by way of your former emotional encounters that might have been just as passionate, traumatic and fucked-up. And like any successful exponent of European cinema, Blue Is The Warmest Colour plants a scurry of ideas in your head, not all of them pleasant.

Hard to say if the Cannes’ triumph was deserved, but the film certainly gets under your skin. And leaves a sickening taste in your mouth (have I just been manipulated into anything?), but you almost don’t regret that. Yes, it’s exactly the same with those teenage years.

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