Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013): “Existence precedes essence.”

001_blue_is_the_warmest_color_largeBased on a graphic novel of the same name by Julie Maroh, Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013, dir. Abdellatif Kechiche) tells the story of Adèle, a high school student who is blossoming into adulthood. Adèle has a fairly regular life, she enjoys studying and has some good friends and a potential boyfriend. One day, she spies a young woman with bright blue hair crossing the street and is captivated by her. This small occurrence changes her life from then on. Blue is the Warmest Colour is a true epic film in the very sense of the word, telling the story of Adèle’s life as it changes and develops over a number of years, and also the development of her love with blue-haired Emma.

This is my second post on this fantastic film. I reviewed Blue is the Warmest Colour earlier this year for an “Is it worth paying for a ticket?” post, and eventually ruled that yes, this film is absolutely worth seeing in cinemas. (Not going to lie, that first paragraph is ripped from this previous review.) I absolutely loved it. I recently re-watched it at home, and firstly, I can confirm that if you feel awkward watching a really long sex scene in a dark cinema with relative anonymity, you have no idea how awkward it is to watch it with six other people in your own living room. However, secondly and more importantly, the art and sheer brilliance of this film is not dulled at all by watching it on the small screen. In fact, re-watching this film allowed me to consider its creative elements more comprehensively.

Director Abellatif Kechiche was by all means completely obsessive when making this film, shooting hundreds of hours of film, with certain scenes taking more than a week to finish. But as I said in my previous review, this obsessiveness has 100% paid off, and what has resulted is a film that looks extremely well put together; both in terms of the thoughtfulness of its construction, and also its aesthetic appeal. Upon re-watch, I noticed that the film is heavy on not only the use of the colour blue (who would have guessed?), but also the idea of mirroring experiences, both through actual mirrors and reflective glass. This idea of mirroring is also shown through shots that replicate earlier moments with slight changes, and mirroring scenes to contrast social and political views. The way this film is put together is genius.

Here are some of my favourite shots from Blue is the Warmest Colour. I could seriously include every single shot from this film in a cinematography post because the whole thing is shot so artfully and expressively (although that may depend on your interpretation of the film’s numerous sex scenes). Not only are the performances by Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux absolutely amazing, but the film itself is constructed in such a visually perfect way that balances their extreme talent. I’ve mixed up these images so that the plot isn’t spoiled but please beware of potential spoilers if you haven’t yet seen this amazing film!

(Warning: there’s a little bit of artistic nudity in this post, but nowhere near the level of nudity in the film!)

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5/5
Watch the trailer here.

Watch this film at Amazon!

25 comments

  1. HMMMM – while I’m all about naked chicks, I don’t think this is one for me. Might need a little more Carcosa sprinkled in 🙂

    #soulies

    1. Ha! Unfortunately no weird stick constructions in this one! If only there was a Matthew McConaughey cameo.

  2. The 4th screenshot is beautiful …And I just love this film so so much! One of the greatest love stories of 21st century cinema. Nice take once again, Anna 🙂

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I agree about that screenshot, this film’s use of light is amazing! Regardless of his crazy obsessive tendencies, Kechiche sure knows how to make something look really beautiful.

  3. I saw this in theaters with a bunch of old people and felt awkward there. I can only imagine how odd I would feel in a living room setting. I really liked this movie, but loved the graphic novel more. At least the pacing in the movie wasnt slow. I will re watch this again soon. Good Post

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I think the way we got through this at home was just by making jokes during the sex scenes. Like, a lot of jokes. I can’t imagine sitting in a theatre with old people watching this. That would have been the worst! Definitely interested to read the graphic novel too!

  4. I need to see this too!

    1. Definitely, it is absolutely amazing!

  5. I still havent seen it but want to. its just hard finding 3 hours to devote to it

    1. Yeah, true. I’d definitely suggest watching it in one go though, once you find the time!

  6. Good review. Less of a movie about two women falling in love, and more about falling in love in general. And for that, it’s an utterly beautiful movie.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I totally agree, such a beautiful film and a purely modern love story.

  7. What a great movie this is. I rated it highly after my first viewing. Incredibly, the further I get away from it the more appreciation I have for it.

    1. I just adore this film. I’d say it’s within the top five films I’ve watched this entire year so far! Totally incredible.

  8. Such a beautifully told, engaging film boasting two marvellous lead performances. Great work Anna. Those pics are excellent and I hadn’t thought of the mirror allegory, but it certainly makes sense!

    Adam.

    1. Thanks Adam! 🙂 The two leads are just amazing. Exarchopoulos in particular is mindblowing. I only really noticed the mirror allegory on the second viewing, but I wonder if there’s another layer to the film to find in the inevitable third viewing!

  9. ahhhhh skipping this until I get a chance to read the graphic novel AND see the movie! There’s a bookstore nearby that has the graphic novel. I got about 20 pages in before the shop owner started giving me looks. Want to buy it but can’t as I’m moving soon!

    1. Maybe it can be a present for yourself when you get to NZ! 😀 Such a great film though. One day I’ll read the graphic novel too!

  10. I have to see this again, too! Those screencaps are just as perfect as the film. I want to notice new things (mirrors, reflections!) too!

    1. I’m already looking forward to watching it for a third time! 😀 Pretty much every frame of this film is perfect!

  11. Beautiful shots! i think my favorite is the one from the ending with her walking away in blue dress.

    1. That’s the part of the film where I slap my hands to my face and declare it to be the best work of art ever made. The music is so good in that moment. I think my favourite shot/scene is where Adele goes swimming in the sea. Just so beautiful and evocative.

  12. […] for help, have a look at the excellent review of Rosemary’s Baby that the lovely Anna of Film Grimoire did for my IMDB Top 250 Challenge HERE. Anna knows what she’s talking about! Listen to her! […]

  13. I tend to agree with the crowd who finds the sex scenes rather un-“expressive.” I just thought they stopped the narrative, took voyeuristic pleasure in the entangling of two bodies, and revealed far more about the filmmaker’s proclivities than it said about the characters.

    1. I definitely don’t blame you for that view, the sex scenes in this film were very polarising indeed! When I first watched it I was pretty confronted by how graphic it was, but at the same time I appreciated the realism, and also appreciated it as a significant contrast to Adele’s initial experience with her boyfriend. Not to mention the implications for the development of her sexual identity. However I do think the fact that it took ten days to film one of those sex scenes is exceptionally creepy. I feel really weird about that.

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