A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)

It's at least half an hour too long, and the sex scenes inevitably have something exploitative about them, but Blue Is the Warmest Color remains exceptional in large part because it's one of the most intimate portraits of a human relationship on film. The jury at Cannes was right in citing not only the director but also the two actresses, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, when it gave the film the Palme D'Or. Exarchopoulos in particular demonstrates a rare courage, not for exposing her body but for allowing the rawness of her emotions to show forth. There are moments when her character, Adèle (Kechiche changed the character's name from "Clémentine" when he cast her), becomes almost pitiable in her helpless infatuation with Seydoux's Emma, Exarchapoulos's fresh beauty becoming disfigured in her portrayal of Adèle's suffering at the inability to make the kind of fusion she desires with Emma. It's a fable about the limitations of love that transcends sexual orientation. The film's NC-17 rating once again demonstrates the wrong-headedness of the American ratings board's approach to sexuality, as opposed to its blithe acceptance of any extreme of violence in film.

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