It’s been five years since Abdellatif Kechiche pulled off the rare feat of winning the Palme d’Or in a unanimous jury vote for “Blue Is the Warmest Color.” In that time, the director’s lesbian coming-of-age romance has been hotly debated as both a milestone of queer cinema and an exploitative sex drama. Kechiche’s new film, ‘Mektoub My Love: Canto Uno,’ is bound to follow a similar path.
“Mektoub” follows a young screenwriter named Amin who travels from Paris to his hometown on the Mediterranean for the summer. He spends his days at beaches and in bars with childhood friends and his sexually-charged older cousin, Tom. Amin eventually meets a producer who offers to finance his first film, which presents the young man with numerous choices that could change his life. The cast includes newcomers like Shain Boumedine, Ophelie Bau, Salim Kechiouche, and Lou Luttiau.
Reactions out of last year’s Cannes Film Festival were wildly divisive, with many critics once again taking issue with Kechiche’s male gaze. “Mektoub” does not have a U.S. distributor yet but is set for release in France on March 21. Watch the first trailer below.