A scene from Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

There has been endless chatter and controversy concerning the seven-minute love scene between two women in the French drama Blue is the Warmest Color, which opened in the U.S. on October 25.

Read an exclusive interview with director Abdellatif Kechiche | Learn more about Kechiche’s filmmaking

Adding fuel to the fire is the very public feuding between the cast, the director and the crew. The two lead actresses, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, have openly accused director Abdellatif Kechiche of being abusive and “horrible” on set, and said they would never work with him again. Kechiche, who won the Palme d’Or for this film, fired back, calling Seydoux “a spoiled child,” and claiming she cried in his arms in Cannes, so grateful to him for this noble role. He even posted an open letter titled, “To Those Who Wish to Destroy ‘La Vie d’Adele.’” After the Cannes’ film premiere, the film technicians union accused him of “moral harassment” and criticized his unreasonable, disorganized working methods.

A scene from Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

And now Julie Maroh — the author of the 2010 French graphic novel upon which Blue is based — has spoken out against the film’s love scene, describing it as “a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn, and made me feel very ill at ease.”

The scene in the novel takes place over four pages of the 160-page book, while the film version runs for seven of the total 179 minutes.

Seydoux feels they spent too much time filming that now-infamous seven minutes, “We spent 10 days on just that one scene. It wasn’t like, ‘OK, today we’re going to shoot the sex scene!’ It was 10 days.” It was also the first scene the actresses shot, when they barely knew each other. Seydoux later admits that she felt “like a prostitute” when filming the highly explicit scenes. As for Kechiche’s directing the scene, Seydoux says, “Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful—you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act.”

Blue is the coming-of-age story of 15-year old high school student Adéle (Exarchopoulos), who meets the older Emma (Seydoux) at a nearby art college. Emma’s blue hair initially intrigues Adéle, but once they truly meet, the teenage girl’s journey to self and sexual discovery begins.

Maroh says, “The story is about what most of queer, trans and questioning teenagers are going through, what we all had to deal with in the inside and afterwards with our environment. Most of us had to go through difficult steps (and some don’t survive those steps) and this is what I tried to make a story with. It’s also a love story and a reflection on society, on loss, the fact that our time in this world is short, and about the path that the love we awakened keeps following.”

Maroh’s novel was published in the U.S. this month. Hopefully audiences and readers see the film and buy the book despite the controversy, and not because of it.



Sources: The Daily BeastThe Guardian, Yahoo! Movies, Variety