Get past the shock and controversy of its notoriously explicit sex scenes and it’s possible to see Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winning romantic drama Blue Is the Warmest Colour for what it truly is: one of cinema’s most heartfelt, honest and, yes, searingly sensual portrayals of first love.
Newcomer Adèle Excarchopoulos is a revelation as working-class teenager Adèle and Léa Seydoux is no less impressive as upper-middle-class painter Emma, the blue-haired bohemian with whom Adèle embarks on a life-changing affair.
The scenes of their lovemaking certainly have an eye-opening frankness, but the camera’s intimate gaze peers into all aspects of their lives with equal honesty and candour – with the film’s meal scenes proving every bit as revelatory as the sex.
And it’s not just in bed that the characters stand naked. As Adéle goes through the turmoil of first love, Excarchopoulos lets us see every flicker of emotion, from ecstasy and heartbreak to guilt and grief.
Certificate 18. Runtime 179 mins. Director Abdellatif Kechiche.
Released on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on Monday 17th March by Artificial Eye.
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