Amy Larkin revisits last years controversial Palme d’Or winner, Blue is the Warmest Colour/La Vie d’Adéle, for Coltt Classics
It’s initial release in October of last year sent it soaring in the french cinema world, when it won the Palme d’Or award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Despite the stupendous reception it received, it also attracted immense controversy.
The most difficult task I had before viewing this movie was trying to decipher the cryptic title - I seem to have a love/hate relationship when it comes to renowned French “masterpieces”, I either cherish them for a lifetime or turn it off within 5 minutes due to unstomachable artiness, and I felt serious trepidation before pressing play, fearing this would be a waste of the last few hours on my flight. However, I needed not fear - I was instantly engrossed by Abdellatif Kechiche’s depiction of love between two females, whose souls are in some what fated.
17-year-old Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) is a withdrawn high-school student studying Literature, who seems quite content with her life surrounded by her boy-infatuated peers and conservative parents until one day, she passes a woman by with blue hair on the streets of Lille. Here on, we follow Adele’s encounters with this older woman named Emma (Lea Seydoux) who is an artist. They become entangled in a complex relationship which revolves around their lust and passion for one another. Adele is at cross-roads in terms of her sexuality when she meets Emma, and also during the course of their relationship; but the ultimate deterioration begins when Emma loses her blue hair, which tragically signifies the end of their honey-moon phase.
Blue’s shining quality as a film is the raw emotion and honesty that is portrayed by both the camera work and the performances of Exarchopoulos and Seydoux. Although the film is beautifully intense, and the erotic sex scenes are relevant, they are lengthy and often uncomfortable. This is where it gained most of its critical response, but still managed to succeed even in the Box Office.
Something else to point out is the symbolism in this film. It’s deliberately indiscreet giving you clues to forming your opinions on the characters. Note that Adele is found licking knives and slurping spaghetti, while Emma’s favourite food is clams.
Adele grows from a girl into a woman from the years spent with Emma, yet in the end she is left in a state of melancholy, last seen walking off into her ambiguous future. From the moment Adele caught a glimpse of Emma on a busy crosswalk, the film persuades you with the power of coup de foudre yet enlarges your fear of its effect; love, like lightning, can both illuminate and scorch.
Sunday Playlist: 28/9/14
Kendrick Lamar // I
F L E S H 793 // Nothing
Rick Ross // Elvis Presley Blvd. (feat. Project Pat)
Childish Gambino // Sober
Run The Jewels // Oh My Darling Don’t Cry
From the Vault:
Cliff Richards // The Young Ones
Crystal Waters // Gypsy Woman
The Notorious B.I.G // Big Poppa
Lady Bee // That’s My Man
Hiatus Kaiyote // Nakamarra
Song of the Week:
Yung Lean // Sunrise Angel
This Is All Yours-alt J
On their second album This Is All Yours, alt-J have managed to not only maintain, but hone and perfect their signature fragile warmth.
On this album we travel with these timid, highly skilled men through Nara, the strange world in which the album appears to be set. Right from the opening tracks, they manage to convey a sort of mechanical distance, which in fact only serves to highlight the sheer level of human warmth they display. It’s in their stifled or awkward emotional expression (such as the strangely domestic lyrics to ‘Every Other Freckle’ or their habit of drawing out, or even spelling out, words until they’re virtually unrecognisable) that we can see true longing, true frustration, true feeling on show. It’s this thoroughness of expression that makes their music so totally enthralling.
Their development from their Mercury prize-winning debut, An Awesome Wave, is perhaps best traced through ‘Bloodflood’, to ‘Bloodflood Part II’ here. There’s more of a sense of scope in ‘Part II’; less of the palpable excitement of forging new ground and more of the development of an individual voice. They clearly haven’t become wildly different people, but they have learned to appreciate their new position.
They range from track to track from exquisite beauty to atonal rhythmic thrumming and strange contrasts, including a bizzarely placed Miley Cyrus ‘I’m a female rebel’ sample (which whether intentionally or not serves to prove how totally outside any kind of political or social arena their music lies; a reference to the outside world as a reminder of how isolated the whole thing actually feels, how insular Nara is). By the time ‘Leaving Nara’ closes, you are left to smile, in the few moments before the bonus track, at the sheer cumulative effect of the album’s beauty, and for one of the few truly distinctive groups currently working in music exclusively for the purpose of forging of new sounds and expression of individual emotions; this is music for music’s sake.
Sunday Playlist 21/09/2014
from the vault:
track of the week:
· Cosmic Vibrations // Foxygen
· Happy Idiot // TV on the Radio
· Lily For Your Pad to Rest On // Superfood
· Want Your Feeling // Jessie Ware
· Put Your Number in My Phone // Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti
· Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl // Broken Social Scene
· Hello, I Love You // Adore Delano
· Contact // Bridgitte Bardot
· So Fresh, So Clean // Outkast
· To Be Alone With You // Sufijan Stevens
Song of the Week:
· Lost In The Girl // Kwamie Liv