Blue Is The Warmest Colour DVD Review
What’s It About? Winner of the illustrious Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Blue Is The Warmest Colour traces the story of school girl Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who experiences a sexual awakening after falling in love with Emma (Léa Seydoux). Set in the suburbs of Lille, Adèle lives the life of your usual teenager, daydreaming of boys and nattering with likeminded friends. But after a fleeting encounter with blue-haired Emma, Adèle’s world is turned topsy-turvy as she questions her sexuality and the essence of life itself.
Blue Is The Warmest Colour endeavours to explore the deepest folds of human sensitivity, and writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche unveils love in its rawest and most vulnerable form.
Verdict: Taking a laborious five months in production, consisting of a cut three hours in running time, Blue Is The Warmest Colour is certainly an incredible, indulgent piece of art. Kechiche has induced beautiful, touching performances from his two protagonists, who provide, quite possibly, a romance unlike any viewed on screen before. Allegations of abuse between director and cast seeped out during publicity for the theatrical release, but both Exarchopoulos and Seydoux acknowledge that Kechiche is an absolute master of his craft. In filming hundreds of hours of footage, ordering re-take after re-take and ultimately lengthening the production time by several months, Kechiche has composed, what is, not just the greatest on-screen love story of our time, but an anthropological exploration of romantic ecstasy and its bond with misery.
Léa Seydoux (Inglorious Basterds, Midnight In Paris) is already distinctive to English-language films and is brilliant in Blue Is The Warmest Colour; however it is the film’s other central character Adèle Exarchopoulos, virtually unknown, who shines and radiates in a performance normally only seen among polished jewels of the acting community. Adèle effortlessly encapsulates a plethora of human emotions – ranging from fiery passion in intense sex scenes to humiliation and melancholic suffering.
Kechiche directs using intimate, close-up cinematography to depict sentiments of the characters, causing audiences to identify with their own clammy teenage kisses and sexual experiences. But it is when Adèle and Emma cross paths for the first time, in a scene effervescent with desire, that Blue Is The Warmest Colour reveals itself as Kechiche’s magnum opus. Linking eyes amid the blur of traffic, Adèle is tortured by the random interaction, aching for more of the shorthaired stranger. The intense moment allegedly took 100 scenes to shoot, frustrating cast and crew alike, yet the exchange succeeds in epitomising love that results from chance. And this earth-shattering encounter exposes a magnetism and attraction between the two leads that lasts right through to the film’s final, dying moments.
Kechiche sketches tragic realities of homophobia, and as malicious girls hurl abuse on the playground, Adèle’s denial symbolises how society prevents the expression of what could be her true sexuality. Yet outside of the school gates that passion develops and heartfelt exchanges breathe a life and energy to the screen. And love is flawlessly expressed no better by fine-arts student Emma falling for the inexperienced 17-year old schoolgirl.
The screenplay refuses to skirt over any romantic facet, and neither does the camera shy away from the graphic elements. Adèle and Emma’s carnal desires fuel passionate sex scenes – and the real-time camera work portrays the lovers tantalisingly embracing each other’s most intimate being. Pursuing sexual ecstasy, the lovers pant in lengthy, never-ending scenes and the audience is treated to an honesty often found solely in French cinema.
Blue Is The Warmest Colour recoils from vague notions of love, focusing instead on its intricate details. And while Hollywood depicts romance using white smiles and happy families, Kechiche concentrates on characters’ imperfections and the beauty in their faults. As Adèle matures, she loses intolerant friends, moving in with Emma to spend hot summer nights discussing renowned artists. Viewers are reminded here of the couple’s polar-opposite attitudes and Adèle’s ordinary aspirations clash with Emma’s bohemia, leaving room for unwelcome sully in their relationship. It is in these thought provoking scenes where Kechiche demonstrates his momentous directorial dexterity, portraying love’s delicate nature and the loneliness that can loom in a relationship.
Final words: Kechiche’s obsession, devotion and candour has created an astounding piece of work. And it is a bitter outrage that Blue Is The Warmest Colour did not receive recognition with the Academy. But Adèle is the true star here, providing a fearlessly natural performance. Mesmerising and utterly heartrending, this French love letter will leave your emotions absolutely spellbound.
Extras: In addition to the trailer, the extras include captivating interviews with director Abdellatif Kechiche and charismatic actress Adèle Exarchopoulos, who describe the complex process of shooting the film. Furthermore, the DVD contains several deleted scenes that provide an intriguing addition to the final cut.
Blue Is The Warmest Colour is available to order now on Amazon here.