Check out this French trailer for Palme d’Or winner “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” which was picked up for stateside release by IFC’s Sundance Selects, which is likely screening the film at Telluride as well as Toronto before its opening October 25. The three hour film about a lesbian romance isn’t eligible to be France’s Oscar submission, but the distributor plans an Oscar campaign for newcomer Adele Exarchopoulos as Best Actress.
While the critical reaction to “Blue Is the Warmest Color” has been resoundingly positive (the jury vote for the film’s selection, led by Steven Spielberg, was unanimous), the film has stirred up feminist controversy. Some holdouts against the film cite director Abdellatif Kechiche’s male-fantasy gaze during the graphic sex scenes as problematic. And these displeased critics are important: the New York Times’ mighty Manohla Dargis, and the 27-year-old author of the graphic novel on which the film is based, Julie Maroh.
Spielberg, in his remarks for the press conference of the Jury, was passionate about the selection of “Blue Is the Warmest Color” for the Palme. Of Kechiche’ filmmaking decisions, he said:
“He let the scenes play as long as they would in real life. And we were absolutely spellbound by the brilliance of the performances, by those amazing young actresses — all the cast — and especially the way the director observed his players. The way he just let the characters breathe, the spaces were as important as what they said, what they weren’t saying. And we just all found that it was a profound love story… We were really happy that somebody had the courage to tell the story the way they told it.”