Racy Palme d'Or Winner 'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Won't Show in Idaho Theaters

"Blue Is the Warmest Color"

UPDATED: "It isn't because we're prudes," theater owner Carole Skinner tells THR about the ban, which is a result of a state law tied to the alcohol license.

Lesbian coming-of-age drama Blue Is the Warmest Color has gotten plenty of attention since its Palme d'Or-winning premiere in Cannes in May. And while it's finally opening in U.S. theaters on Oct. 25, Abdellatif Kechiche's film won't be hitting the big screen in at least one state -- Idaho.

The Flicks Theatre, which is Boise's arthouse staple, won't be showing the film because of its NC-17 rating, as first reported by The Boise Weekly.

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"It isn't because we're prudes," Carole Skinner, owner of the theater, tells The Hollywood Reporter.  She tells THR that the theater's liquor license is tied to Idaho Code 23-614, which prohibits films featuring "acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation or any sexual acts which are prohibited by law" and "any person being touched, caressed or fondled on the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals."

The French drama, which stars Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos, focuses on a 15-year-old girl who meets a girl with blue hair and embarks on an intense sexual relationship with her.

Skinner says the theater has never shown any NC-17 films because of the law, adding that Steve McQueen's Shame was also not shown at the theater.

The four-screen theater, however, is one of only a handful of theaters in the state that features indie and foreign films, so it looks like Idaho residents will have to drive to another state to see Blue is the Warmest Color on the big screen.

When the film was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA in August, Sundance Selects decided to forgo contesting the decision and move forward with a limited release.

"This is a landmark film with two of the best female performances we have ever seen on screen. The film is, first and foremost, a film about love, coming of age and passion. We refuse to compromise Kechiche's vision by trimming the film for an R rating, and we have every confidence that Blue Is the Warmest Color will play in theaters around the country regardless,” said Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films. “An NC-17 rating no longer holds the stigma it once did, and we look forward to bringing this unforgettable film to audiences nationwide. We believe this film will leave a lasting imprint, as did The Last Tango in Paris, for a whole new generation."

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com
Twitter: @Beccamford