From the moment the movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the coverage has been fast and furious.
Audience walkouts began around minute nine. That turned into spontaneous applause and relieved laughter , when the women climaxed and finished a minute later. Some of the criticisms aimed at the scene, however, are legitimate. But first, some background.
After a series of flirtatious encounters in the park, the two fall madly, passionately in love. All the brewing tension comes to a head in their first love scene: There were several walkouts at both screenings of the movie I attended—the first in late August at the Telluride Film Festival, and the second at the New York Film Festival earlier this month.
They were all, from what I could gather, middle-aged women who bid the film adieu at around the five-minute mark. Before I go into exactly why the scene is problematic, it should be noted that Blue is the Warmest Color is one of the best films of the year—a fantastically acted, enduring portrait of first love. It vividly captures the feelings of lust and infatuation inherent in first love, and the psychological toll it bears when it shatters into a million pieces.
Both actresses—in particular Exarchopoulos, who delivers the best performance, male or female, of the year—deserve to be nominated for Oscars, and Kechiche should, all things considered, be given kudos for creating a fine work of art.
Now to the scene. For starters, it does run too long. But it could stand to have its running time cut in half. The other problem is the way it is staged and lit. Much of the love scene is composed of medium shots, with the camera focused on the two horizontal bodies writhing on a bed.
The bodies are seen, as well as the bed and the windows. The bed is essentially acting as the stage, and the women are being presented as spectacle. The scene looks—and is staged—like porn circa s. Point of view is the biggest concern when it comes to the sex scene. While Blue is the Warmest Color is a great film, and deserves to be seen by as many people as possible, its sex scene does leave something to be desired: