French lesbian love story set to open amid feud
AFP/The Local · 4 Oct 2013, 10:02
Published: 04 Oct 2013 10:02 GMT+02:00
- Cinema-goers turn their backs on French films (01 Oct 13)
- French hit film Amelie heads for Broadway (23 Aug 13)
- Lesbian love story wins Cannes Palme d'Or (27 May 13)
The three-hour-long "Blue is the Warmest Colour" (La Vie d'Adèle) caused a sensation at this year's Cannes film festival, making stars out of its two lead actresses, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux.
The pair were all smiles on the French Riviera as they posed for photographs with the film's French-Tunisian director, Abdellatif Kechiche.
Chair of the jury Steven Spielberg hailed it as a "profound love story", adding that the judges had been "absolutely spellbound" by the brilliance of the women's performances and "the way the director... let the characters breathe".
Another reviewer hinted at possible future controversy, claiming it contains “the most explosively graphic lesbian sex scenes in recent memory.”
"He was screaming, 'hit her again!'"
But fast forward several months and the mood surrounding the film has soured, with bitter complaints from both actresses about Kechiche's working methods.
In an interview published on September 1st by US website The Daily Beast, Exarchopoulos said that she had been unprepared for the extent to which Kechiche required her to immerse herself in the role.
"Once we were on the shoot, I realized that he really wanted us to give him everything. Most people don't even dare to ask the things that he did, and they're more respectful," she said.
Seydoux complained that a 10-minute sex scene in the film took a full "10 days to shoot".
Both women also complained about a fight scene.
"It was horrible. She (Seydoux) was hitting me so many times and (Kechiche) was screaming 'Hit her! Hit her again!'," Exarchopoulos said.
With the film due for release in France next week, the pair again aired their complaints, with Seydoux telling TV magazine Telerama that filming was "horrible" and that she did not think the film should be released.
'I felt humiliated and dishonoured'
"For me, this film should not come out, it has been sullied too much. The Palme d'Or was only a brief moment of happiness, afterward I felt humiliated and dishonoured, I felt a rejection of my person, (and) that I live like a curse," Seydoux said.
Exarchopoulos, meanwhile, told French television that Kechiche was a "tortured genius" but that his demands had harmed both of them.
"He made us ill psychologically at times because he loves his actresses to let go and it's hard to do," she said.
For his part, Kechiche has responded by saying he believes the comments show "a lack of respect for a metier that I regard as sacred".
'Much less beautiful - a bit of a lesbian'
Seydoux caused a separate controversy in August when remarks she made about lesbians and beauty led some commentators to label her a "homophobe."
Speaking to French Grazia, the women’s fashion and gossip magazine, about her own self-image, the 28-year-old said the following.
“There have been moments where I’ve found myself pretty and sexy, but there are times when I find myself much less beautiful – a bit of a lesbian, you could say."
"Blue is the Warmest Colour" opens in France and Belgium on October 9th, followed by other European countries between October 10th and 25th.
It will have a limited release in the United States from October 25th, as well as slots at four film festivals this month, including Chicago and New York.
Here is an official trailer for the controversial film, with English subtitles, by Movie Clips Trailers.