Blue Is The Warmest

May 27, 2013 by · Comments Off on Blue Is The Warmest 

Blue Is The Warmest, It was a fitting end to the week in which gay marriage was legalised in France: Abdellatif Kechiche’s same-sex love story La Vie D’Adèle Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Colour) was named the winner of the top prize at the Cannes film festival.

Based on a French graphic novel, the film follows the relationship between two young students in Lille, one of whom has hair dyed the blue of the title. When she reverts to her natural blonde, their affair nose-dives.

Its explicit, groundbreaking sex scenes, one of which beats the 10 minute mark, mean it went into the final furlong as both the movie everyone was talking about, and critics’ favourite to take the Palme d’Or.

That it made good on those odds meant that the film that preceded it as top tip – the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis – instead went home with the Grand Prix (runner-up prize).

These crowning awards formed an icing of convention on a series of shocks dished out by Steven Spielberg’s jury, whose ranks also included Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee and the British director Lynne Ramsay. There was nothing for Paolo Sorrentino’s well-liked Felliniesque tale of middle-aged Roman debauchery, The Great Beauty, while Asghar Farhadi’s divorce drama The Past made do with best actress for Bérénice Bejo.

Bejo is best known for her role in The Artist, which premiered at Cannes two years ago. She went on to be Oscar nominated for that part, losing out at the same ceremony where Farhadi’s A Separation was named best foreign language film. Last year, Bejo hosted the Cannes opening and closing ceremonies (in 2013, the task fell to Audrey Tautou, who must be feeling positive about her chances in 2014).

Veteran star Bruce Dern was named best actor for his role as an alcoholic father in Alexander Payne’s black-and-white road movie, Nebraska. The film – fondly, if not ecstatically received on the Croisette – gave Dern his first lead in many years. It was, he told the Guardian earlier this week, a relief not to be playing “some piece of shit who wants to blow up the Superbowl”.

Dern was an unexpected winner; the actor himself had returned to the US, leaving Payne to pick up his award. The bookies’ choice was Michael Douglas, who turns in a game-changing performance as Liberace in Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s biopic of the pianist, which premiered in the US on HBO just a few hours after the festival wrapped.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the best director award doing to 34-year-old Mexican director Amat Escalante, whose Heli unnerved many with scenes of torture involving a flambéed pns and a strangled puppy. These scenes had looked likely to overshadow its more sensitive moments of young romance and Bressonian upset, and when Escalante, speaking to the Guardian, confessed being taken aback at the “cowardly” reaction of the critics to what he felt was a realistic presentation of the world of drug gangs in Mexico. Spielberg’s endorsement will come as comprehensive vindication of Escalante’s intended aim to place his audience clear-eyed, in front of human depravity.