The buzz at Cannes Film Festival was mostly about the long and fervent lesbian sex scenes in Blue is the Warmest Colour. But the coveted Palme d’Or made everyone forget about the highhandedness of the Tunisian born French director Abdellatif Kechiche towards the actors and technicians for he being an all-powerful old school European director. Everyone claims to be part of a big venture now. It’s a passionate love story of two young women – an emotionally hungry Adele and Emma, a blue-haired senior art student.
The festival jury chaired by Stephen Spielberg had been ”spellbound” and decided to
honour Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux also in addition to the director. The audacious theme of same-sex relationship revolves around the wonderful performances of those young actors that out-beat any of the hitherto ones we had witnessed. Naturally, as actors they may have nothing much to write home about the making or the hardship they had faced. Kechiche believes in the supremacy of the old school of European directors who believe films are exclusively the art of directors. When a film stands clicked with laurels, such a director turns to be right too. Abdellatif Kechiche has a lot to boast on his three-hour movie in French, besides the bravery of showing it beautifully, as the theme supports it. Although Kechiche has dedicated the laurels he gained at Cannes to the youth of Tunisia, I’m really skeptic about the reception at the centrifugal clerical Islamic structure.
There were a few rumblings at the sites of shoot. The relationship between actors and the director went chilly. The technicians on the crew filed a complaint that they face difficulty in working with the director due to his ”moral harassment”.
There were dissenting voices and a stern resistance from Julie Maroh, the author of the novel, Blue Angel, the movie is based on. When a director is reluctant to move through the beaten rut created in the book, it’s quite natural that differences come up. A movie has different path to reach an audience and it’s way different from the one created by a writer. So, I always believe that although it has been originated in another brain, for a director it becomes a new creation altogether. Even then if the results are good with a happy landing, it does not matter much. But if it is the other way around like picking fights each other, the director has to carry the cross across on his own shoulder. When the director believes that he belongs to an all powerful clan of film makers, the goings will be tough in the back yard. Julie Maroh had mentioned in an interview that the prolonged sex scenes have become pornographic and brutal. The Daily Beast, an on-line magazine of Telluride Film Festival had quoted the leading actors saying that the five-month shoot was ”horrible” and they would quite unlikely to work with Kechiche in future. It had been reported that the director ranted at them and forced them to do umpteen takes as he didn’t know what he exactly wanted. It took about 10 days to shoot the sex scene alone. Also the back side story of the fight scene (one of the best histrionic vignettes of Blue is the Warmest Colour) of Adele and Lea is dispiriting. The actors turned quite uncomfortable to rehearse it for one hour and the director refused to stop the action even when Adele cut her hand on broken glass. Abdellatif Kechiche is no less a European director who thinks a movie is a directorial display. Invariably everywhere in Europe the movie world is monopolized by voices from directors that are unalterable.
However, the scene changes when a finished product with high acclaim going like hot cake. Adele and Lea has done their startling and brilliant performances. They gave the most complicated and demanding renditions of their career and appeared to have been looked at intense envy by the main stream actors. Palme d’Or is the most coveted award of Europe, from Cannes. Despite the discords in the back-drop, the world around us has seen the photograph of Abdellatif Kechiche, bespectacled, with close-cropped grey flecked hair, holding the priceless award and the main actors kissing the director from each side. It was a historic moment of winning the award first time for a theme of same sex relationship, the very next week of the government of France legalizing such marriages.
According to Spielberg, the synergy couldn’t have happened without Adele and Lea in ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’. And as a result the nine-member-jury had decided to honour the actors too as co-creators of the movie. To make a long story short, the weather is cool out despite the inclemency they all had it indoor.