Blue Is The Warmest Colour - Blu-ray Review

'there are significant questions here around the gratuitous sex on show and arguably beyond that into concepts of authorship'

Abdellatif Kechiche's much-discussed adaptation of Julie Maroh's graphic novel is all of the things that have been discussed about the film and more. On the one hand, this is undoubtedly a beautiful and significant film. A rolling and advanced depiction of loves and lives, Blue Is The Warmest Colour's one-hundred and seventy-nine minutes fly by, perfectly orchestrated by Kechiche into an almost effortless epic. On the other, there are significant questions here around the gratuitous sex on show and arguably beyond that into concepts of authorship and quite who has the right to tell this story.

Those questions come mainly from hints during the opening, which are more developed elsewhere, that this story is less about women in love and more about women in society. There is spectacularly little questioning, analysis or even mention of the fact that the film's protagonist, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is in a homosexual relationship with Emma, (Léa Seydoux), the blue-haired maelstrom who enters her life early in proceedings. Pleasingly, Kechiche paints a narrative reflective of a modern accepting society; there are very few unnecessary segments examining Adèle and Emma's relationship from a sexuality point of view. The schoolyard bullies who feature early doors are given the short shrift they deserve.

With that element dispensed with, Kechiche moves to considering the role of intellectual, forward-thinking women in French society. Adèle is portrayed as an incredibly intelligent young woman, who not only reads Marivaux but understands and spreads the literature-based joy. Thomas' (Jérémie Laheurte) rejection or incomprehension of the text is the beginning of his end.

Where though do Adèle and Emma end up? The former, shunned by Emma's intellectual artist friends, ends up literally playing waitress, moving between them as server whilst they discuss the high art Adèle is not given the opportunity to have an opinion on. Emma meanwhile, firmly ensconced in this group, has little power of her own, instead beholden to the male art gallery patrons whom she needs to fund her creativity. That message, of female power as an illusion in an unfairly male dominated society, comes across powerfully but is it undermined by Kechiche's role as tale teller? Certainly it does not take much to craft an argument that it is undermined by Kechiche's decision to present two drastically long and graphic sex scenes between Adèle and Emma. Does Kechiche knowingly go after retaining some power - over actors, characters or both - by putting them in this situation? It is a complex question, but the question is certainly there.

That said, if the test of an epic is whether you would watch it again then Blue Is The Warmest Colour passes not only on the basis that nearly three hours in its company is eminently enjoyable time spent but that a second viewing is nye on necessary to answer many of the pertinent questions. Perhaps Kechiche deserves praise for not making everything straight-forward, for not putting everything in front of you, for leaving a complex narrative with questions still to be answered around its execution and its doctrine.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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