Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013) Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. With Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Aurélien Recoing and Alma Jodorowsky.
Abdellatif Kechiche’s teen-drama Blue is the Warmest Colour, is an adaptation of a comic book (graphic novel if we’re being posh) about a girl (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and her experiences around falling in love in present-day France. Winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or (Golden Palm if we’re not being posh) at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the film topped many observers’ ‘Best of‘ lists for 2013.
Clocking in at a bum-numbing 179mins, Kechiche’s film aims to engage us on a visceral level by using the raw power of up-close-and-personal facial expression to convey the drama. In the central role, Exarchopoulos gives a mesmerising performance, elevated by some beautifully natural photography by Sofian El Fani. First and foremost, this is a film about emotions, factoring in themes of freedom and that skip-of-a-beat your heart makes when love comes calling.
Despite considerable length, it makes for an absorbing watch, though there’s still room for a nip-and-tuck, here and there. The film fully capitalises on the power of cinema (I wish I’d seen it on the big screen) by honing in on faces as a form of story-telling. Such is the effectiveness, that in a sense, it would work just as well as a silent film. From extreme joy to heartbreak, Adèle Exarchopoulos’s young face says it all.
Outside of the emotional whirlwind that is any teenager’s life, the film is forthright in its depictions of sex. Among other things, what struck me was how amusing the sex looks when exposed and framed in broad daylight. Beyond that, it is beautiful and to some degree, forces us to feel uncomfortable at sitting there watching it, almost as if we’re suddenly aware of our own voyeurism. Word to the wise – don’t watch it with Mum and/or Dad.
Although a three-hour French drama about a teenager’s emotional and sexual odyssey might be less appealing to some than an omnibus of Skins, with stunningly natural performances, Blue is the Warmest Colour captures an essence of the torment and glory of youth. 4/5