Blue Is the Warmest Colour

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Blue Is the Warmest Colour
La Vie d'Adèle (movie poster).jpg
French release poster
Directed byAbdellatif Kechiche
Produced byAbdellatif Kechiche
Brahim Chioua
Vincent Maraval
Screenplay byAbdellatif Kechiche
Ghalia Lacroix
Based onBlue Is the Warmest Color 
by Julie Maroh
StarringAdèle Exarchopoulos
Léa Seydoux
CinematographySofian El Fani
Editing byAlbertine Lastera
Camille Toubkis
Sophie Brunet
Ghalia Lacroix
Jean-Marie Lengelle
StudioQuat'sous Films
France 2 Cinéma
Scope Pictures
Radio Télévision Belge Francofone
Vertigo Films
Distributed byWild Bunch (France)
Sundance Selects (US)
Release dates
  • 23 May 2013 (2013-05-23) (Cannes)
  • 9 October 2013 (2013-10-09) (France)
[1]
Running time179 minutes[2]
CountryFrance
Belgium
Spain[3]
LanguageFrench
Budget€4 million[4]
Box office$10,132,135[5]
 
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Blue Is the Warmest Colour
La Vie d'Adèle (movie poster).jpg
French release poster
Directed byAbdellatif Kechiche
Produced byAbdellatif Kechiche
Brahim Chioua
Vincent Maraval
Screenplay byAbdellatif Kechiche
Ghalia Lacroix
Based onBlue Is the Warmest Color 
by Julie Maroh
StarringAdèle Exarchopoulos
Léa Seydoux
CinematographySofian El Fani
Editing byAlbertine Lastera
Camille Toubkis
Sophie Brunet
Ghalia Lacroix
Jean-Marie Lengelle
StudioQuat'sous Films
France 2 Cinéma
Scope Pictures
Radio Télévision Belge Francofone
Vertigo Films
Distributed byWild Bunch (France)
Sundance Selects (US)
Release dates
  • 23 May 2013 (2013-05-23) (Cannes)
  • 9 October 2013 (2013-10-09) (France)
[1]
Running time179 minutes[2]
CountryFrance
Belgium
Spain[3]
LanguageFrench
Budget€4 million[4]
Box office$10,132,135[5]

Blue Is the Warmest Colour (French: La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 – "The Life of Adèle – Chapters 1 & 2"), also known as Adele: Chapters 1 & 2,[6][7][8] is a 2013 French romantic coming of age drama film written, produced, and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche.

At the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the film unanimously won the Palme d'Or from the official jury and the FIPRESCI Prize. It is the first film to have the Palme d'Or awarded to both the director and the lead actresses, with Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos becoming the only women apart from director Jane Campion to have ever won the award.[9][10]

Blue Is the Warmest Colour is based on the 2010 French graphic novel of the same name[11] by Julie Maroh[12] which was published in North America in 2013. The film had its North American premiere at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival.

Plot[edit]

Adèle is a high-school student whose female friends gossip about boys and encourage her to go out with a boy who is attracted to her. While walking on the street one day, she passes by a woman with blue hair and is attracted to her. In her desire to be accepted, she dates the boy and they have sex, but she is ultimately dissatisfied and breaks up with him. After one of her girl friends makes a brief advance, she becomes confused and troubled about her sexual identity. One night, she goes with a friend to a gay dance bar, but leaves and walks into a lesbian bar, where she experiences assertive advances from some of the women. The blue haired woman is also there and intervenes, claiming Adèle is her cousin. The woman is Emma, an advanced Fine Art student. They become friends and begin to spend more time with each other, but Adèle finds herself even more in love with Emma, with Emma seemingly reciprocating. Her friends lash out at her and mock her for being a lesbian. Despite the backlash, she grows closer to Emma. After a time, she confesses her love for Emma, who reciprocates. They have sex and begin a relationship. Emma's family is very welcoming to the two lovers, but Adèle introduces Emma to her family as just a friend.

Over the course of several years, the two women live happily together. Adèle finishes school and joins the teaching staff at an elementary school, where one of her male colleagues shows an interest in her. Jealous of Emma's apparent intimacy with one of her friends, Adèle agrees to go out with him. Emma discovers the brief affair and kicks Adèle out of the apartment they share. Some time later, Adèle and Emma meet at a restaurant. Adèle is still in love with Emma, but Emma is in another relationship and is no longer in love with Adèle. Despite Adèle's advances, which Emma accepts, Emma tells Adèle she does not love her anymore, but will always think fondly of her. The two forgive each other and Adèle moves on with her life.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Kechiche developed the premise for Blue Is the Warmest Colour while directing his second feature film, Games of Love and Chance. He met teachers "who felt very strongly about reading, painting, writing" and it inspired him to develop a script which charts the personal life and career of a female French teacher. However, the concept was only finalised a few years later when Kechiche chanced upon Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, and he saw how he could link his screenplay about a school teacher with Maroh's love story between two young women.[13]

In late 2011, a casting call was held in Paris to find the ideal actress for the role of Adèle. Casting director Sophie Blanvillain first spotted Adèle Exarchopoulos and then arranged for her to meet Abdellatif Kechiche. Exarchopoulos described how her auditions with Kechiche over the course of two months consisted improvisation of scenarios, discussions and also of them both sitting in a cafe, without talking, while he quietly observed her. It was later, a day before the New Year, that Kechiche decided to offer Exarchopoulos the leading role in the film, as he said in an interview, "I chose Adèle the minute I saw her. I had taken her for lunch at a brasserie. She ordered lemon tart and when I saw the way she ate it I thought, "It's her!"".[13][14][15] On the other hand, Léa Seydoux was cast for the role of Emma, ten months before principal photography began in March 2012. Kechiche felt that Seydoux "shared her character’s beauty, voice, intelligence and freedom" and that she has "something of an Arabic soul". He added on saying, "What was decisive during our meeting was her take on society: She’s very much tuned in to the world around her. She possesses a real social awareness, she has a real engagement with the world, very similar to my own. I was able to realise to how great an extent, as I spent a whole year with her between the time she was chosen for the role and the end of shooting." Speaking to Indiewire on the preparation for her role, Seydoux said "During those ten months (before shooting) I was already meeting with him (Kechiche) and being directed. We would spend hours talking about women and life; I also took painting and sculpting lessons, and read a lot about art and philosophy."[13][15]

Initially planned to be shot in two-and-a-half months, the film took five, from March to August 2012 for a budget of €4 million.[4] Seven hundred and fifty hours of dailies were shot.[16] Shooting took place in Lille as well as Roubaix and Liévin.[17]

Upon its premiere at the 2013 Cannes Festival, a report from the French Audiovisual and Cinematographic Union (Syndicat des professionnels de l'industrie de l'audiovisuel et du cinéma) criticised the working conditions from which the crew suffered. According to the report, members of the crew said the production occurred in a "heavy" atmosphere with behaviour close to "moral harassment", which led some members of the crew and workers to quit.[4] Further criticism targeted disrupted working patterns and salaries.[18] Technicians accused director Abdellatif Kechiche of harassment, unpaid overtime and violations of labour laws.[19]

Release[edit]

Blue Is the Warmest Colour was sold to 131 territories, including culturally sensitive markets such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Nepal.[20] On 20 August 2013, the Motion Picture Association of America awarded the film an NC-17 rating for "explicit sexual content". The film had a limited release at four theaters in New York City and Los Angeles on 25 October 2013, and expanded gradually in the following week.[21][22][23][24] It was released on 15 November 2013 in the United Kingdom.[25]

However, director Abdellatif Kechiche stated in an interview in September 2013 that the film should not be released. Speaking to French magazine Télérama, Kechiche said "I think this film should not go out; it was too sullied", referring to the negative press about his on-set behavior.[26][27]

The film is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD through The Criterion Collection on 25 February 2014.[28]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Stars Adèle Exarchopoulos, Jérémie Laheurte and Léa Seydoux, and director Abdellatif Kechiche, during the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

The film has received critical acclaim. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 90% based on 120 reviews, with an average score of 8.1/10. The site's critical consensus is: "Raw, honest, powerfully acted, and deliciously intense, Blue Is the Warmest Color offers some of modern cinema's most elegantly composed, emotionally absorbing drama."[29] Metacritic rated the film 88% based on 41 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[30]

At Cannes, the film shocked some critics with its long[31] and graphic sex scenes (although fake genitalia were used),[32] leading them to state that the film may require some editing before it is screened in cinemas.[33] Several critics placed the film as the front-runner to win the Palme d'Or and it went on to win the coveted prize.[9][33][34][35][36] The judging panel, which included Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee and Nicole Kidman, made an unprecedented move to award the top prize to the film's two main actresses along with the director. Jury president Steven Spielberg explained:

"The film is a great love story that made all of us feel privileged to be a fly on the wall, to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak evolve from the beginning. The director did not put any constraints on the narrative and we were absolutely spellbound by the amazing performances of the two actresses, and especially the way the director observed his characters and just let the characters breathe."[37][38]

Justin Chang writing for Variety said that the film contains "the most explosively graphic lesbian sex scenes in recent memory".[3] Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter said that despite the film being three hours long, it "is held together by phenomenal turns from Léa Seydoux and newcomer Adèle Exarchopoulos, in what is clearly a breakout performance".[39] In The Daily Telegraph, Robbie Collin awarded the film a maximum of five stars and tipped it to win the Palme d'Or. He wrote: "Kechiche’s film is three hours long, and the only problem with that running time is that I could have happily watched it for another seven. It is an extraordinary, prolonged popping-candy explosion of pleasure, sadness, anger, lust and hope, and contained within it – although only just – are the two best performances of the festival, from Adèle Exarchopolous and Léa Seydoux."[40] Writing for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw added that "it is genuinely passionate film-making" and changed his star rating for the film to five out of five stars after previously having awarded it only four.[12][41] Stephen Garrett of The New York Observer said that the film was "nothing less than a triumph" and "is a major work of sexual awakening".[42]

Andrew Chan of the Film Critics Circle of Australia writes, "Not unlike Wong Kar-wai's most matured effort in cinema, Happy Together, director Abdellatif Kechiche knows love and relationship well and the details he goes about everything is almost breathtaking to endure. There is a scene in the restaurant where two meet again, after years of separation, the tears that dwell on their eyes shows precisely how much they love each other, yet there is no way they will be together again. Blue Is the Warmest Colour is likely to be 2013's most powerful film and easily one of the best."[43]

Movie Room Reviews praised the film giving it 4 12 stars saying "This is not a movie that deals with the intolerance of homosexuality or what it’s like to be a lesbian. It’s about wanting to explore that piece of yourself you know is there while still dealing with the awkwardness of youth."[44]

Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar named the film as one of the twelve best films of 2013.[45]

The film was not without its criticisms. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times described the film as "wildly undisciplined" and overlong and wrote that it "feels far more about Mr. Kechiche's desires than anything else".[46] The author Julie Maroh was also less warm towards the film. She stated that she does not consider the film as a betrayal, but as "another version ... of the same story".[47] She criticised the sex scenes in the film, comparing them to porn. She said "The heteronormative laughed because they don't understand it and find the scene ridiculous. The gay and queer people laughed because it's not convincing, and found it ridiculous."[48] She continued by writing that "As a feminist and lesbian spectator, I cannot endorse the direction Kechiche took on these matters. But I'm also looking forward to hearing what other women will think about it. This is simply my personal stance."

Film critic Top Ten lists[edit]

Various critics have named the film as one of the best of 2013.

Accolades[edit]

The film won the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[10] The actresses were also given the Palme as a special prize.[99][100][101] Kechiche dedicated the award to "the youth of France" and the Tunisian revolution, where "they have the aspiration to be free, to express themselves and love in full freedom".[102] At Cannes it also won the FIPRESCI Prize.[103] In addition, this is also the first film adapted from either a graphic novel or a comic to win the Palme d'Or.[47]

In December 2013, the film went on to receive the Louis Delluc Prize for best French film in 2013.[104]

Awards
Award / Film FestivalCategoryRecipients and nomineesResult
2013 Austin Film Critics Association[105]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
2014 Belgian Film Critics Association[106]Grand PrixPending
2013 Boston Online Film Critics Association Awards[107]Top Ten FilmsWon
Best Foreign Language FilmWon
2013 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards[108]Best Foreign Language Film2nd place
67th British Academy Film Awards[109]BAFTA Rising Star AwardLéa SeydouxPending
Best Film Not in the English LanguagePending
2013 British Independent Film Awards[110]Best International Independent FilmWon
2013 Cannes Film Festival[9]Palme d'OrAbdellatif Kechiche
with actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux
Won
FIPRESCI PrizeWon
2013 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[111][112]Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosNominated
Best Supporting ActressLéa SeydouxNominated
Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
Breakthrough PerformanceAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
19th Critics' Choice Awards[113]Best Young Actor/ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosPending
Best Foreign Language FilmPending
20th Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association[114]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
2013 Denver Film Critics Society[115]Best Foreign Language FilmPending
2013 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards[116]Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosNominated
2013 Dublin Film Critics Circle[117]Best Film4th place
Best DirectorAbdellatif Kechiche4th place
(Tied)
Best Screenplay5th place
Best ActressAdèle Exarchopoulos2nd place
Best NewcomerAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
2013 Etoiles du Parisien[118]Best French FilmWon
26th European Film Awards[119]Best FilmNominated
Best DirectorAbdellatif KechicheNominated
66th FIPRESCI Awards[120]Grand Prix — Best Film of the YearAbdellatif Kechiche and Brahim Chioua (producer)Won
2013 Florida Film Critics Circle[105]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
2014 Globes de Cristal Award[121]Best FilmPending
Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosPending
71st Golden Globe Awards[122]Best Foreign Language FilmPending
28th Goya Awards[123]Best European FilmPending
49th Guldbagge Awards[124]Best Foreign Language FilmPending
2013 Hamptons International Film FestivalBest Breakthrough PerformerLéa SeydouxWon
2013 Houston Film Critics Society[125]Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
29th Independent Spirit AwardsBest International FilmPending
2013 Indiana Film Critics Association[126]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
2013 Kansas City Film Critics Circle[127]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
2013 Las Vegas Film Critics Society[105]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
34th London Film Critics Circle Awards[128]Film of the YearPending
Actress of the YearAdèle ExarchopoulosPending
Foreign Language Film of the YearPending
2013 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards[129]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
(Tied)
2013 Louis Delluc Prize[104]Prix Louis-DellucWon
4th Magritte Awards[130]Best Foreign Film in CoproductionPending
Best Supporting ActressCatherine SaléePending
Most Promising ActressMona WalravensPending
85th National Board of Review Awards[131]Best Breakthrough ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
2013 National Society of Film Critics Awards[132]Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosRunner-up
Best Supporting ActressLéa SeydouxRunner-up
Best Foreign Language FilmWon
2013 New York Film FestivalGrand Marnier Fellowship AwardAbdellatif KechicheNominated
2013 New York Film Critics Circle Awards[133]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
Best ActressAdèle Exarchopoulos3rd place
2013 New York Film Critics Online Awards[134]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
Breakthrough PerformanceAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
Best Films of 2013Won
2013 North Texas Film Critics Association[135]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
(Tied)
17th Online Film Critics Society Awards[114][136]Best PictureNominated
Best Foreign Language FilmWon
Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosNominated
Best Supporting ActressLéa SeydouxNominated
2013 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards[105]Best Foreign Language FilmWon
2014 Prix Lumière[137]Best FilmPending
Best DirectorAbdellatif KechichePending
Best ActressLéa SeydouxPending
Best Female NewcomerAdèle ExarchopoulosPending
2013 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards[138]Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosNominated
Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
2013 San Francisco Film Critics Circle[139]Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosNominated
Best Supporting ActressLéa SeydouxNominated
Best Foreign Language FilmWon
2014 Santa Barbara International Film Festival[140]Virtuosos AwardAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
18th Satellite AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmPending
Best Actress – Motion PictureAdèle ExarchopoulosPending
Best Supporting Actress – Motion PictureLéa SeydouxPending
2013 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards[114]Best Supporting ActressLéa SeydouxNominated
Best Foreign Language FilmWon
Best Art-House or Festival FilmRunner-up
20th Southeastern Film Critics Association[114]Best Foreign Language FilmRunner-up
17th Toronto Film Critics Association Awards[141]Best Foreign Language FilmRunner-up
2013 Utah Film Critics Association Awards[142]Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
Best Non-English Language FilmWon
2013 Vancouver Film Critics Circle[143]Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
2013 Village Voice Film Poll[144]Best Film10th place
Best ActressAdèle ExarchopoulosWon
Best Supporting ActressLéa Seydoux3rd place
2013 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards[145]Best Youth PerformanceAdéle ExarchopoulosNominated
Best Foreign Language FilmNominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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