I want to say straight away this isn’t a review of the film, it is a look at the film as a piece of cinema and how it differs to other films out there. Also, this analysis won’t be looking at those scenes, if you’ve seen it you know what I mean, if you haven’t I’m sure you can find out.
So onwards and upwards then, this is a French love film between two women. I say love film as opposed to lesbian love film, as it isn’t the latter, it is a love film that so happens to be between two women, which makes a change to seeing the standard “insert Titanic love story arc here” love. Which fits in more with the directors cannon of work but we shall look at that in more depth later.
The first element to look at in this film is its use of colour, more specifically the colour blue, quite obvious, as we see it throughout the film, which can be correlated to Adele’s development. As we can see it playing a large part in her life as we see her story being told, the first woman she kisses has blue fingernails (yes I am that sad I noticed that), Emma (first person she falls in love with) has the blue hair as well as many other occurrences. For me the best use has to be when she goes out to sea and just floats in the blue ocean, showing how she needs solace and tranquillity from her life which this brief period offers her. As we don’t see anyone else in the ocean with her, she looks like she is the only person in the entire ocean. Yet this can also be seen to have a secondary meaning, as blue is often used to describe depression, so looking at the scene from this light; it can be seen as her trying to keep herself afloat in a depression that is almost drowning her. And that, with all the people around her, she feels that no one can help her. But this idea doesn’t align itself to the rest of the film well, as it would seem that Adele wants to be near depression and is making an active choice to do so, but just for the context of this scene I feel it is relevant. Perhaps a more interesting thought could be a combination of these two ideas that Adele can only find tranquillity in her life, when she lets everything overlap and overwhelm her.
Another, and possibly most important, use of the colour Blue is in Emma’s hair, as early on it is a vibrant and bright blue but as time passes that begins to fade, until Emma’s hair is no longer blue at all. This occurs when their relationship begins to hit a bump, I wouldn’t say their love for each other fades but they lose something from their connection (ask someone more experienced in love than me for a better answer). And this then results in, what for me, was the most powerful scene in the film; when Emma chucks Adele out of their home. After this the film adopts a great style, as we jump through time without warning or any regularity to these visits as time passes for Adele, which reflects how heart-break can last forever and the healing process blurs together without boundaries. Finally, blue is used in the final sequence of the film, the art gallery, where we see Adele wear a vibrant blue dress to Emma’s show, which I believe is a brilliant use of it. As it shows how now Adele can bring herself the comforts that she once sought from others, she is her own solace now. She does speak to Emma, whose hair is still not blue again; which can show how she has moved on from that past with Adele, before speaking to others, the scene and film then end with Adele walking alone down a street.
This film also excels in other area’s and not just on the cinematic level, as it can be seen as a piece of self-reflective cinema, this being a film that reflects either itself or film making within it. We can see this through Emma and her art primarily, as she says “I paint what I want to paint. I won’t paint what the current fad demands me to”, or words to that effect, I couldn’t find the exact quote. I feel this brilliantly represents and mirrors the film, as the film wants to tell the love story we see, and not be just another love film that we have come to expect. It reflects how the painter, or in this case the director, wants to create something unique and hasn’t been seen before, as well as challenging what the rules of cinema or art are. As we have come to expect a happy Hollywood ending from films, where the couple come together, which infects and changes the endings of so many films. Films like Shawshank Redemption, which had the beach scene added due to responses from preview screenings, show this can work but does it always satisfy the story. Would Casablanca be as resounding if Isla and Rick stayed together rather than her getting on the plane; no, as the message of the film was to make the sacrifice for the good of the war not each other. As it is here, if Adele ended up back with Emma it would have been against the message of the film, it would have been contradictory to the development of Adele from a young girl into a woman, she experiences through the relationship to break up. If she has got back with Emma she would have undone everything we see her learn in the last act of the film.
Moreover, if we look at the director in this light, of self-reflective cinema, we can see another side to the film; as he can be seen as the auteur of this film. That being the “author” of the film, which stems from a French film theory called, quite rightly, Auteur Theory; which operates on the premise that the director uses the camera as an author does a pen. Which we can see all too well in this film, as the director Abdellatif Kechiche is known for making observational cinema, he films what we see in life. He doesn’t use extravagant or showy cinematic techniques, he places a camera and films the scene, then cuts to another; which is how we see life, and we go from one moment to the next. Which could be why this film seems so real, as powerful as it seems as if we are actually watching a romance blossom and evolve then, sadly, fall apart rather than a film about it.
So, Blue is the Warmest Colour (if you’re still reading) is a brilliant film, in all respects of the word. It is its own film, with its own way of advancing and tackling issues (which may be an article for another day) that make itself unique from other films out there. And if you are now wondering should I watch it, yes you should, I cannot say a bad word about it myself.
So thank you for reading and I do hope that you go on and watch the film, if you have to buy it, it is worth every penny and you won’t regret it.
This article comes courtesy of Duncan Cushenan.
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