Explicit lesbian sex scenes in the Cannes Festival 2013 entry "La Vie d'Adele - Chapitre 1 & 2" (Blue is the Warmest Color) created strong reactions as it premiered Thursday night.
The film is a moving love story and journey to sexuality of the 15-year-old protagonist Abdele portrayed by Adele Exarchopoulos and her lover Emma played by Lea Seydoux.
The film, vying for the Palme d'Or Prize, is the very first entry to Cannes for director Abdellatif Kechiche. To stay consistent with the film's theme, the director employs a camera technique which shots frequently focused on the protagonist's mouth, in whatever activity she is doing - sleeping, eating and kissing her lover. This technique created a passionate relationship with the audience and was seen to be a remarkable element in the film.
Director Kechiche explained that "It is not something that you think about, really, but close-ups allow you to capture very subtle expressions that you don't always see in real life."
The film seemed to coincide with France's legalization of same-sex marriage last month and the highly graphical scene was seen as an answer to gay rights debate happening worldwide.
But Director Kechiche said that more than anything else, the love scene is aimed to depict the beauty of the act of sex with someone you truly love.
Director Kechiche said that "We hope that in the scenes, the idea of beauty will emerge. I think sexuality is more difficult to film and capture on screen. Sensuality is more difficult to film in meal scenes. Even if it's not easy in sex scenes, you already have the sculpture of the bodies, the lights and the beauty of the faces."
The film is based on a 2010 graphic novel entitled Blue is the Warmest Color.
Director Kechiche shared that he was very affected by the novel. "The story of an encounter that turns the character's life upside down and makes her discover who she is. Then there is the work involved in adaptation. The story takes places in the 1990's, in a militant context that I preferred to avoid in order to concentrate on the encounter, the difficulty of living together and separation."
Even if the film had just premiered, Director Kechiche said that he is already thinking of a sequel, "Since the "Games of Love and Chance, have had trouble leaving my characters behind. Now I have ideas for so many things that could happen in Adele's life that I have started imagining new chapters. I don't know if they'll ever become a reality but I get excited thinking about them."
Lead actress Adele Exarchopoulos praises Director Kechiche saying that "He has a way of directing wirhout directing. You don't even know when you are being filmed.
Actress Lea Seydoux expressed her excitement about the film. "What is so exciting with Abdel is that the process is continuous, there are millions of possibilities and with the rushes, and he can make a completely different film. He has a totally unique way of making a film, he makes it in the moment."
The highly explicit love scenes was already praised by the media.
Reuters said that "the sex scenes will create buzz but may not hold the film back from wider audiences due to censors and cautious distributors."
Kaya Burgess of the London Times dubbed it as "one of the most beautifully and unobtrusively observed love stories I've seen on film."
Jordan Mintzer of Holywood Reproter wrote, "Surely to raise eyebrows with its show-stopping scenes of non-simulated female copulation, the film is actually much more than that, it's a passionate, poignantly handled love story."
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