Blue Is The Warmest Color,
by Abdellatif Kechiche
Palme D’Or at the Festival De Cannes, Blue is The Warmest Color is a real master piece that delivers, through the power of emotions, extraordinary performances by its two main actresses. A truly mind blowing piece.
The story line: At age 15, Adele doesn’t really question her sexuality. To her, girls go with boys. Her life turns the opposite way the day she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who helps her discover the joys of desire and allows her to become both a woman and an adult. The film tells the story of that journey (very French new wave-y).
Blue Is The Warmest Color dares to be long (put yourself in a European context here: movies standard length is one and half hour to two hours) and hence offers its characters the opportunity to express their complexity and the evolution of such over the course of a few years. Adele starts off as a high school girl, Emma as a student at Les Beaux Arts, a prestigious art school in the heart of Paris. They run into each other on the crosswalk and although they don’t stop, the two girls notice each other, in contemplation. I have heard about that scene that it was the hardest one to shoot. Kechiche was apparently very particular and precise in the way it should happen. The girls meet randomly later at a lesbian bar where Adèle finds herself. Right then the motor starts rolling and love, through gazes that need no explanation, has hit the two females (the girl and the woman). From that point on, events just keep coming (in a very organic way, for that matter) and snapping the viewers through natural and lively dialogues, as well as grasping situations. In that way, Blue Is The Warmest Color very much knows how to make ordinary situations come across as extraordinary moments of life _which seems to be a recurring theme in today’s indie cinema, cf Boyhood.
Now, is it possible to write about the movie without talking about the most famous scenes of it all, the ones that made the director Abdellatif Kechiche so controversed? In the middle of the movie arrives a very intense sexual scene between the two women (at that point, it seems to me like Adele has crossed that step). The graphics were indeed very intense and, once again, daring but it seemed to me that, through the subtlety of the montage (almost invisible: no music, etc), the scene gave the story the power of great romance stories. It is even said that when shown at Cannes for the first time, the audience would have applauded during the 7
At first, I found it hard to write words about that scene. In the theatre itself, my first reaction was to be shocked and trying to avoid as much as possible everyone sitting around me, but I then embraced the moment and remembered something: it’s a movie. I reopened my eyes to these fictional characters and took it all in. I discovered that the scene describes without making up the bodies and the ecstasy of the mind: it’s completely true and, once again, organic. The two actresses, sublime and fusionnel, give into their characters’ pulsions, guided by passion only. It is simply impossible to come out of there cold or indifferent. The scene scars in a way or another (and if it does that effect to the viewer, imagine being the actress!).
There is so much to say about what ends up not being so much: the feature merely is a representation of life has best to offer (love, obviously) and worst, the death of feelings and fatality. Blue is The Warmest Color remains hence, before and foremost, a terrible but wonderful love story, that ends on an interesting open note. If Adele and Emma’s story are over, Adele’s life isn’t. And there is no such thing as a sad ending to her story.