'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Author Slams Film's 'Ridiculous' Sex Scenes
Julie Maroh, who wrote the graphic novel on which the Cannes critical darling is based, criticizes director Abdellatif Kechiche for depicting a lesbian love scene as unrealistic and pornographic.
Blue Is the Warmest Color, Abdellatif Kechiche's film about young lesbians falling in love, might have won critical acclaim -- and the coveted Palme d'Or -- at the Cannes Film Festival, but the author of the graphic novel on which the French feature is based offers a harsh review of its explicit sex scenes.
Julie Maroh, the 27-year-old scribe of Le Bleu Est une Couleur Chaude, aired her frustrations on her blog after the film took the Palme d'Or on May 26. Earlier that day, protesters stormed the streets of Paris to denounce a law permitting gay marriage and adoption in France. (Cannes jury president Steven Spielberg insisted politics played no part in the decision to hand Blue the top prize.)
"This was what was missing on the set: lesbians," wrote Maroh in her post (via The New York Times), adding that director Kechiche and his stars, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux, are "all straight, unless proven otherwise." Maroh called the movie a "brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn."
Maroh joins the chorus of other critics who view Blue as voyeuristic and projecting male fantasies of lesbian sex rather than a realistic depiction. In a review of the film, the Times' Manohla Dargis said one 20-minute love scene "feels far more about Mr. Kechiche’s desires than anything else," and expressed disappointment that Kechiche "seems so unaware or maybe just uninterested in the tough questions about the representation of the female body that feminists have engaged for decades."
Meanwhile, THR's Jordan Mintzer took another stance, lauding Kechiche for showing through raw, lengthy scenes "that sex and love can, in the best cases, become one and the same, uniting two people who might actually have less in common than they believe."
Maroh's acclaimed 2011 novel will be published in English later this year, around the time when the big-screen adaptation hits French theaters in October. (There is no release date yet for the U.S.; Sundance Selects has acquired the stateside rights.)
Maroh said in her blog post that Kechiche had snubbed her while shooting the film, and thanked "all those who appeared surprised, shocked, disgusted" by his failure to mention her while accepting the Palme d'Or.
“The gay and queer people laughed because it’s not convincing, and find it ridiculous," Maroh said of reaction to the film, according to the Times. "And among the only people we didn’t hear giggling were” the “guys too busy feasting their eyes on an incarnation of their fantasies on screen."