And we now have our customary first big Awards Season Frontrunner (for awhile anyway) as the voting concludes at the Cannes Film Festival. The jury – this year headed by none other than Steven Spielberg – awarded the Palm d’Or (top prize) to “Blue Is The Warmest Color” (aka “La vie de Adele Parts 1 &2”); a French romantic drama that was already one of the most buzzed-about and controversial entries in this year’s festival.
Based on a French graphic novel (apparently unavailable in the U.S.), the story follows a young woman’s (Adele Exarchopoulos) awakening to an intense attraction to another woman in her teens and into early adulthood over the course of a lengthy relationship with said woman (Lea Seydoux,) whose blue-dyed hair is the source of the title. The film runs an impressive 3 hours, the majority of which is simply conversational scenes between the two women and a small supporting cast.
However, the element that had the festival talking early were sex scenes described as “frank” – which is arthouse-movie speak for “actual fucking” – one of which allegedly goes for a full ten unbroken minutes (Cannes audiences are being reported to have applauded the – literal – climax of said scene as though a monument had just exploded in a Roland Emmerich movie.) There are already questions as to whether or not the film will require major editing to be viewable in certain countries, and a skeptical backlash painting the film as being over-praised by lesbian-fetishizing male critics and jurors (the director is a man, Tunisian-born Abdellatif Kechiche.) Meanwhile, it’s victory will almost certainly become a talking point in it’s native France; which just legalized gay marriage in the face of major opposition from conservative and religious organizations: The nutcase who shot himself in Notre Dame Cathedral last week did so in protest of legalization.
In any case, the film is now slated for an October release in France followed by a year-end rollout in the United States in anticipation of Oscar nominations.