La vie d’Adèle: a lesbian story or just a romance?

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With a format between a film and a documentary, almost Haneke’s style, La vie d’Adèle (the translation into English, Blue is the warmest color, comes from the original graphic novel that director Abdellatif Kechiche got the story from), winner of the Palm d’Or this year at Cannes Film Festival, had a press view last night in Madrid and the premiere is scheduled for this coming Friday. The spontaneous Adèle Exarchopoulos made a joke before the preview at cinema Callao about how eager we were to see her big head in the screen and we’d soon find out what she was talking about: the camera follows the actress in countless close-ups where we can see and feel Adèle crying, smiling, whining, moaning until virtually becoming part of her life. But what Kechiche does even better is to describe characters and situations’ moods, showing scenes such as a tedious primary-school class after an emotional turmoil; non-belonging individuals in garden cocktails with bourgeois-bohemians; or even simple dinners with parents, lies and telling silences.

This film might create some controversy for the explicit sex scenes between two young women, although actually it only intends to show all aspects of a relationship, and sex is an important one in most of them, we can’t deny that, it’s just that we are not used to seeing it in films. In Spain, TV series such as Queer as Folk got its moments of fame a few years ago, although its gay and lesbian sex scenes didn’t go further than a few kisses and long-distance shots of intertwined naked bodies. Here, it comes closer and a bit more realistic, that’s why the film has suffered censorship in different ways, says Kechiche. But in the end, the spectator forgets about homosexuality and becomes involved in the story of a conventional romance, predestined to be troubled for the unbalance of both characters: one of them, Adèle, younger, immature, lower-class, spontaneous and sensitive, looking for protection, willing to become a primary-school teacher; the other one, Emma, strong, self-confident, well-educated and intellectually superior, in her way to become a famous artist.

In short, it’s well-worth seeing the over 3 hours of footage, you get a sensation of really having met the characters and experienced their strong emotions.

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