‘Blue is the Warmest Color’: A Steamy Romance at Cannes

In the Magazine
Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Love was in the air last week on the French Riviera. Just days after France legalized gay marriage, a lesbian love story scooped up the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival. Blue Is the Warmest Color (original French title: La Vie d’Adèle) tells the tale of a high school student and the blue-haired young woman who precipitates her coming of age. Equal parts touching and shocking (audience members wondered if its explicit sex scenes will make it across the Atlantic), the film is based on a graphic novel and represents the latest in director Abdellatif Kechiche’s attempts to give a voice to France’s more marginalized groups. The jury decided to honor not only Kechiche, but also his two leading ladies, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, who commented after the ceremony that it was a universal story. “It’s a love story,” said Exarchopoulos. “If it’s also a hymn to tolerance, then that’s all the more gratifying.” The Steven Spielberg–led jury also paid tribute to the latest Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, with the Grand Prix. A ’60s Greenwich Village folk-music film, it stars Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, and Carey Mulligan (who did double duty at Cannes with her recently released The Great Gatsby). The Japanese drama Like Father, Like Son, about a dad who learns his child was switched at birth, took home the Prix du Jury. Faring less well was the violent Ryan Gosling crime thriller Only God Forgives, which provoked boos from the notoriously cantankerous audience. Steven Soderbergh also went home empty-handed, getting no love for his Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, another same-sex romance with steamy scenes between Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. “A Palme d’Or,” said Uma Thurman as she welcomed Spielberg to the stage, “can take place in Cherbourg, Rome, Paris, or in Texas. [It] can be about a man and a woman, a dancer in the dark, or a taxi driver. It could blow up like a pulp fiction, or trigger the apocalypse.” No matter what, though, the love is coming soon to a cinema near you.

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