Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Blue Is the Warmest Color

After having spent most of two weekends in November at the Landmark Clay for the San Francisco Film Society's French Cinema Now and New Italian Cinema series, I decided to return the day before Thanksgiving to see Blue is the Warmest Color.  Prior to French Cinema Now, the Clay had screened Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine for many weeks.  Blue Jasmine, which has been in distribution for the past 25 weeks and counting, is now screening at the Opera Plaza.  Blue is the Warmest Color is also playing at the Opera Plaza.

Blue is the Warmest Color starring Adèle Exarchopoulos & Léa Seydoux; directed by Abdellatif Kechiche; French with subtitles; (2013) - Official Website

I don't have much to say about Blue is the Warmest Color.  It was a powerful film, I enjoyed it and the much discussed lesbian sex scenes are quite explicit without being exploitative.  Léa Seydoux, whose performance I recalled & admired in Sister, has the supporting role of Emma, the older woman who influences Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos).  By influence, I mean not only introduces to sapphic love but also convinces to subsume her own needs and growth (and even sexuality)  in support of her own.  In other words, the trajectory of Adèle's life would have likely been much different if she had not met Emma as a teenager and that is completely irrespective of her sexuality although the film hints that even that her lesbianism is an aberration unique to her relationship with Emma.

Blue is the Warmest Color is about an intense love affair and the fact that the lovers are lesbians is both incidental and crucial to the story.  I could string together many sentences to explain why I enjoyed this film but others have done so better than I can. 

The lead actresses' performances are strong and the story follows the relationship over several years.  My only comment is that although many have described the film as a romance, I thought it was more a story of Adèle's journey of self-discovery...much of which she discovers through her relationship with Emma.  Blue is the Warmest Color is very much Adèle's story.  I also like that the ending was ambiguous.  Is Adèle better off for the experiences and lessons she took from her relationship with Emma?  I don't know.  It's quite possible Adèle will never have a relationship as intense as the one she had with Emma.  If for no other reason, her experience with Emma will make Adèle "once bit, twice shy."

I notice that Seydoux is appearing in Wes Anderson's next film - The Grand Budapest Hotel.  She is an actress I would like to see more of.

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