Despite it's controversy (more on that later, maybe), Blue Is The Warmest Color has become a critical success pretty much from go, and it managed to secure the Palme d'Or for the director, Abdellatif Kechiche, as well as both Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, making them the first (and only!) women since filmmaker, Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993, to win the award (not to mention Exarchopoulos being the youngest ever recipient). While both actresses are excellent, I found Exarchopoulos to be the breakout performance as it's her character (also named Adèle) that the audience gets to see grow throughout the film as she meets Emma (Seydoux), the young woman with blue hair with whom Adèle begins a life-changing relationship with.
female artists was that I wasn't too terribly impressed by her version of Blue Is The Warmest Color, as I didn't find her ending as satisfying. It's also interesting to note the film's original French title, La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 & 2 (Adele: Chapters 1 & 2), which I find probably more appropriate, given it's structure, as well as the overall impression the film left with me.
As I mentioned above, the film garnered it's share of controversies and criticisms; some of it came from alleged working conditions during filming, but the film's reputation was criticized, even by Maroh herself, disapproving of the film's several lengthy sex scenes, comparing them to pornography. I found that the rest of the film's visuals were not to be overshadowed though, and the lovely (if not so literal) use of blue in the film's rich color palate was very striking and reminded me of Glyn Dillon's The Nao Of Brown and it's brilliant use of red as it's own central palate; in both instances, neither color overwhelmed the senses nor felt overused, but in fact added to the overall design of both pieces, making them feel like complete, well-rounded artifacts. Blue Is The Warmest Color is just that; both a color and a mood.
My second favorite film of last year, and also a nominee of the Palme d'Or, was François Ozon's Young & Beautiful (Jeune & Jolie). I have been a tremendous fan of Ozon for a while now (as with the continuously promised Wong Kar Wai article,there is an Ozon omnibus post coming soon as well, I swear!), and I have yet to see him turn in anything I haven't enjoyed (though I will admit to not seeing absolutely everything he's done); Young & Beautiful was no exception.
Yasujiro Ozu, François Ozon's films often deal with families and the relationships between generations, and it's that relationship and subsequent fallout of Isabelle's alter-ego Lea that feeds much of the film's conflict. After a shocking event, Isabelle is quickly found by the police and her parents are notified, straining her relationship with her mother.
The film is interceded by four chansons (one for each season) by Françoise Hardy, whose recording of the German song, "Träume", was featured at the end of Ozon's Water Drops On Burning Rocks (an adaptation of an early Fassbinder play, so, you know, it's awesome that that's a French reinterpretation of both a song and a movie; just saying). The effect is very French, and it gives the film a sort of timeless quality; much like his previous films, Young & Beautiful doesn't cater to social trends in either filmmaking or setting, and if it weren't for the inclusion of cell phones and computers, I feel like Ozon could have made the same film fifteen years ago. In fact, the visual style of Blue Is The Warmest Color even reminded me quite a bit of Diva, a personal favorite of mine by director Jean-Jacques Beineix, so it's almost as if in 2013 France has reached a new neo-classicist period, though I'd still hesitate to rename an era every time a couple of dudes make a few really excellent films; for all we know, these are isolated incidents, but I'm still going to be excited when said dudes release their next films.
threatening legal action against actress Léa Seydoux for criticizing his shooting methods. Despite both Ozon's comments and Kechiche even denouncing his own film in weekly French magazines and the like though, the films have been popular and critical successes, and it's nice to see that art can still sometimes speak for itself.