French Film “Blue is the Warmest Colour” Enraptures.

Blue is the Warmest Colour.

Blue is the Warmest Colour.

Abdel­latif Kechiche won this year’s Palme D’Or at Cannes with his sixth film, Blue is the Warmest Colour, though its orig­i­nal title, The Life of Adèle chap­ters 1 & 2, is the bet­ter description.

The 20 year old Adèle Exar­chopoulos gives an aston­ish­ing per­for­mance as the epony­mous hero­ine in the three hour film that charts her jour­ney from ten­ta­tive teenag­er into a ful­ly formed woman.

The Ital­ians use the word col­pi­to, lit­er­al­ly struck down to describe the moment of falling in love. And nowhere will you see it bet­ter cap­tured than when Adèle first catch­es sight of the blue haired Emma, played by Léa Sey­doux. What fol­lows is a mag­nif­i­cent­ly painful bur­row­ing into the war­ren of a relationship.

Inevitably, the bare­ly ten min­utes of pas­sion­ate sex that this includes is what has gen­er­at­ed all the inter­est and con­tro­ver­sy since the film first sur­faced this year at Cannes. With the actress­es appar­ent­ly com­plain­ing of exploita­tion, and the direc­tor angri­ly defend­ing himself.

Abdellatif Kechiche , Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux at Cannes.

Abdel­latif Kechiche , Adèle Exar­chopou­los and Léa Sey­doux, all smiles at Cannes despite the murmurings.

It’s not hard to see why the actress­es might feel some­what sul­lied, betrayed even by the result­ing film. Not because of the sex scenes, but because of the depth and raw­ness of emo­tion on view, and the way in which they, and espe­cial­ly Adèle expose them­selves so com­plete­ly before us.

It would be all too easy to be flip­pant about a film like this. It’s all so very French. It’s a three hour film about beau­ti­ful girls who draw lov­ing­ly on an end­less sup­ply of cig­a­rettes in between dis­cussing exis­ten­tial­ism and art and falling in and out of love with each oth­er. And all in a way that’s both beau­ti­ful to watch, com­plete­ly believ­able, and some­how nev­er pretentious.

And this being Ire­land, it gets an 18 cer­tifi­cate. After all, that’s the last thing any of us would want our teenage boys and girls watch­ing when they could be at home instead look­ing at hard­core porn in the com­fort of their bedrooms.

But the film tran­scends all of that. Because the jour­ney that the actress­es and the direc­tor take you on is so inti­mate, so emo­tion­al­ly engag­ing and so rap­tur­ous­ly cap­tured that it’s impos­si­ble not to be com­plete­ly tak­en in. And for once, that 3 hour dura­tion is jus­ti­fied. As with the num­ber of words Tol­stoy took, some­times you need the space that time gives you to be able to ful­ly delve into your sto­ry. And to con­vey all the emo­tion involved.

Com­fort­ably, and by a con­sid­er­able dis­tance, the film of the year. You can see the trail­er here.

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