Reel talk with Annie: “Blue is the Warmest Color”

Annie Schwartz

Staff Writer

Gossip hit the airwaves when the jury of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival awarded the prized Palme d’Or to director Abdellatif Kechiche and actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos for “Blue Is the Warmest Color.” Controversial for its ten-minute, un-choreographed sex scene and rumored mistreatment of crewmembers, this film had both feminists and small town conservatives in outrage. Prepared to watch this three-hour French romance, I saw something quite different than what many referred to as pornographic and exploitative.

“Blue Is the Warmest Color,” based on the graphic novel by Julie Maroh, is a story of self-discovery and cultural-exploration. Caught up in the drama of high school, Adèle, a teenager from the city of Lille, uncovers her sexuality, leading to an intense relationship with Emma, a trained painter at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Emma becomes the center of Adèle’s life, and Adèle, Emma’s muse.

As a fly on a wall, we watch the relationship unfold. Kechiche delves deep into the relationship. Close-ups on the body–raw lips, the intertwining of arms and legs, the intense clutching of one being onto another–seem like pornographic ideals of the male gaze, however, it is impossible to avoid feeling the romantic anguish that overcomes these two women.

The strong connection between the viewer and the character is unlike any other. In many ways, Adèle is an extension of our lives, in that we grow and suffer with her. Allowed to experiment under the loose confines of the narrative, Exarchopoulos’ profound acting becomes our reality. Consumed by her struggles with sexuality, social class, and independence, one forgets that Adèle is fictional. The heart breaks as we watch her face these tormenting decisions in solace.

This film is challenging, what makes it spectacular also hinders its potential of becoming a masterpiece. What I love about this film is that the audience is immersed into details of a love story that are usually left untouched by the filmmaker. While I appreciate Kechiche’s efforts to convey Adèle’s reality, he ultimately enters into another level of voyeurism, turning the relationship into a spectacle rather than a sincere understanding.

Though Kechiche’s cinematic choices are questionable, his impeccably developed characters and beautiful narrative did not fail to grasp my attention. Exarchopoulos and Seydoux embodied these women on a level unlike any other; their methodical take on portraying these complex beings blurring the line between performance and reality. While it will be forever tainted by the harsh critiques of the film’s exceedingly pornographic nature, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” will remain renowned for its unconventional take on a love story driven by the breakthrough performances of two extraordinary actresses.

Review: Sliver Linings Playbook

Emily Keyes
Sports Editor

The Silver Linings Playbook looked stupid. Its first round of promotional commercials made it seem like yet another feel-good

(Photo: Google Images).

(Photo: Google Images).

“comedy of the year” movie that eventually ends up mixed in with TBS’ tireless round of rom coms and dramadies, the ones we have seen a thousand times but still find ourselves watching on lazy Sundays. Nothing about it stuck out, other than the main actress, Jessica Lawrence, who I have found to be both witty and inappropriate (a dynamite combination). Plus, it was about football, and anyone who knows me knows I do not like, watch, or understand anything about that sport. But, somehow I still found myself in the theatre on a gloomy Wednesday for a double feature of it and Les Miserables. After a harrowing three hours spent watching the drama of the French Revolution as portrayed by Russell Crowe’s sing-talking, I sat down to watch what I was sure was going to be a “meh” movie, something you tolerate, that might give you a few laughs, but is nothing special or extraordinary. I was wrong. This movie is hilarious, touching, and best of all, it has a unique plot. Elements of insanity and family are mixed together perfectly to create a truly pleasurable film. It is a movie that actually does have something for everyone. There is football, dancing, grief, many near-arrests, a few mental breakdowns, and a love story discreetly woven in. Bradley Cooper does a fantastic job of playing a bipolar man in his mid-30s, and Jessica Lawrence couldn’t be more perfect for the role of a sassy twenty-something dancer trying to cope with life after losing her husband. The music is spot-on, as is the casting of Robert DeNiro as an OCD, gambling father and Jackie Weaver as his supportive but anxious housewife, a woman trying to fix her family’s problems with “crabby snacks and homemades.” It is a movie that is absolutely worth the price of admission.

 

Not your Average Summer Flick: Review of Moonrise Kingdom

Lyle W. H. Hawthorne
Arts Editor

Caught somewhere in between a fairy tale and a study of dysfunction, Wes Anderson’s newest masterpiece, Moonrise Kingdom, addresses the struggles of growing up in a world of infidelity, bullying, and loss, through a celebration of quirkiness and individuality. The story is set in 1965, on a small fictional island of the coast of New England named “New Penzance”—actual filming locations range in and around the North East. Following the journey of two adolescents—Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman), an audacious 12 year old orphan, and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), the precocious daughter of two lawyers (played by Frances McDormand and Bill Murray)—Moonrise Kingdom weaves together a truly unique tale fraught with the awkwardness and magic of youthful summers.

Movie Poster for Moonrise Kingdom Photo: http://www.indiewire.com

Sam, whose parents passed away many years previous, and is now a child of the foster system, puts his efforts and interest into learning about nature with the “Khaki Scouts;” while Suzy, the eldest of four, lives a life of troubled affluence. Dealing with unfaithful and distant parents, she immerses herself in books of fantasy and classical music. In face of such hardship, the two decide to abandon their respective lives in search of adventure into the unknown—subsequently turning the island town upside down as parents, scout masters, and police are forced to confront their own insecurities in the search for the two runaways.

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