The lesbian love story “Blue is the Warmest Color” (“La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2”), a French film, won the Palme d’Or top prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. The festival announced its award winners for this year on May 26, 2013.
“Blue is the Warmest Color” director Abdellatif Kechiche accepted the award, along with “Blue is the Warmest Color” co-stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. It was the first time that the Cannes Film Festival gave the Palme d’Or award to two actresses in the same year.
Steven Spielberg was the president of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival Jury. The other jury members for films that were entered in the main competition this year were actress Nicole Kidman, director Ang Lee, actor Christoph Waltz, actor Daniel Auteuil, actress Vifya Balan, director Naomi Kawase, director Cristian Mungiu and director Lynne Ramsay.
The 2013 Cannes Film Festival was held from May 15 to May 26.
“Blue is the Warmest Color” is about a closeted teen lesbian named Adèle (played by Exarchopoulos), whose true sexuality is awakened when she meets a blue-haired woman named Emma (played by Seydoux). The film is based on Julie Maroh’s French graphic novel “Le bleu est une couleur chaude” (“blue is a warm color”). The movie’s French title (“La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2”) actually translates to “The Life of Adèle- Chapters 1 and 2” or “Adèle’s Life – Chapters 1 and 2” in English.
“Blue is the Warmest Color” co-star Seydoux is best known to American audiences as Sabine Moreau, one of the villains in the 2011 action flick “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” She also played Gabrielle in Woody Allen’s 2011 comedy film “Midnight in Paris” and Charlotte LaPadite in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 drama “Inglourious Basterds.”
Sundance Selects, which often releases movies on demand before or on the day of their theatrical releases, has acquired the film for U.S. distribution. The U.S. release date for “Blue is the Warmest Color” is to be announced. “La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2” arrives in French cinemas on Oct. 9, 2013.
The movie has not yet been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America, but based on reviews of the film, the sexually explicit content of “Blue is the Warmest Color” means that the movie will be rated NC-17 or released unrated, unless the some of the movie’s most graphic scenes are edited for its U.S. release.
Because “Blue is the Warmest Color” is likely to be rated NC-17 or released unrated, several U.S. movie theaters will not carry the film, which means that more people in the U.S. will see “Blue is the Warmest Color” on demand instead of in a movie theater.
Here is a sampling of reviews for “Blue Is the Warmest Color” from critics who saw the movie at the Cannes Film Festival:
“‘I have infinite tenderness for you,’ one woman tells another in ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color,’ and it’s a sentiment that also describes director Abdellatif Kechiche’s attitude toward his characters in this searingly intimate, daringly attenuated portrait of a French teenager and her passionate relationship with another femme. Post-screening chatter will inevitably swirl around not only the galvanizing performances of Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux, but also the fact that they spend much of this three-hour emotional epic enacting the most explosively graphic lesbian sex scenes in recent memory. The result is certain to stir excitement and controversy on the fest circuit while limiting the film’s arthouse potential, barring significant trims for length and content.”
The Hollywood Reporter
“‘Blue Is the Warmest Color (La Vie d’Adele – Chapitres 1 et 2)” might be the title of Tunisian-born French director Abdellatif Kechiche’s latest sprawling drama, but the emotions — and the sex, of which there is beaucoup — definitely run red hot in this deeply moving portrait of a young girl’s climb toward adulthood in the arms of another woman. 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 which, despite an unhinged 3-hour running time, is held together by phenomenal turns from Lea Seydoux and newcomer Adele Exarchopoulos, in what is clearly a breakout performance.”
Film School Rejects
“Granted, the blue color motif is overplayed throughout the film to the point of distraction, and some of the later sex scenes might seem a tad unnecessary once that lustful drive has been established — not to mention they eat considerably into the run-time — though each does at least give us a glimpse into the raw, animalistic attraction between these two souls. Moreover, as a depiction of first love, cinema doesn’t get a whole lot more frank. The Upside: Central performances are virtually faultless; the graphic sex scenes are both enjoyable to watch and psychologically potent; the tale is more broadly relatable than you might think. The Downside: The three-hour running time will prove punishing for some; the color blue is overused; some of the later sex scenes are arguably excessive.” (Grade: B+)
“Three-hour movies usually are the terrain of Westerns, period epics or sweeping, tragic romances. They don’t tend to be intimate character pieces, but “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (“La Vie D’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2″) more than justifies its length. A beautiful, wise, erotic, devastating love story, this tale of a young lesbian couple’s beginning, middle and possible end utilizes its running time to give us a full sense of two individuals growing together and apart over the course of years. It hurts like real life, yet leaves you enraptured by its power.”
Here is a complete list of winners at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival:
In Comptetion — Feature Films
Palme D’Or: “Blue is the Warmest Color” (“La vie d’Adèle”), directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. Award shared by co-stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux.
Grand Prix: “Inside Llewyn Davis,” directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Best Director: Amat Escalante for “Heli”
Best Screenplay: Jia Zhangke for “Tian Zhu Ding” (“A Touch of Sin”)
Best Actress: Bérénice Bejo for “Le Passè” (“The Past”), directed by Asghar Farhadi
Best Actor: Bruce Dern for “Nebraska,” directed by Alexander Payne
Jury Prize: “Soshite Chichi Ni Naru” (“Like Father, Like Son”) directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu
Vulcain Prize, for an artist technician, awarded by the C.S.T.: “Grigris,” directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
In Competition — Short Films
Palme d’Or – Short Film: “Safe,” directed by Byoung-Gon Moon
Short Film Special Distinction Ex-aequo (tie): “Hvalfjordur” (“Whale Valley”), directed by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson, and “37°4 S,” directed by Adriano Valerio
Un Certain Regard
Prize of Un Certain Regard: “L’Image Manquante” (“The Missing Picture”), directed by Rithy Panh
Jury Prize of Un Certain Regard: “Omar,” directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Directing Prize of Un Certain Regard: “L’Inconnu Du Lac” (“Stranger by the Lake”), directed by Alain Guiraudie
A Certain Talent Prize: “La Jaula De Oro,” played by Diego Quemada-Diez
Avenir Prize: “Fruitvale Station,” directed by Ryan Coogler
1st Prize Cinéfondation: “Needle,” directed by Anahita Ghazvnizadeh
2nd Prize Cinéfondation: “En Attedanr Le Dégel” (“Waiting for the Thaw”), directed by Sarah Hirtt
3rd Prize Cinéfondation Ex-aequo (tie): “În Acvariu” (“In the Fishbowl”), directed by Tudor Cristian Jurgiu and “Pandy” (“Pandas”) directed by Matúš Vizár
Caméra d’or: “Ilo Ilo,” directed by Anthony Chen