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Spots, sweat, snot – and sex

“Blue is the Warmest Colour” is a movie dripping with emotional intensity

Nicholas Barber | November/December 2013

If you’ve heard anything about "Blue Is the Warmest Colour", you’ve heard about the sex scenes. The Palme d’Or-winner at Cannes this year, Abdellatif Kechiche’s unsparing romantic drama examines the tender relationship between a working-class schoolgirl, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulous), and a blue-haired bohemian art student, Emma (Léa Seydoux)and central to that relationship are several of the most prolonged and candid naked grapplings ever seen in mainstream cinema. Edit them out and you’d knock half an hour off the three-hour running time. But Kechiche, who adapted the film from Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, scrutinises his characters just as intently when they’ve got their clothes on. In close-ups so intimate that you keep expecting the actors to bump into the camera, he shows us the spots on Adèle’s chin, the snot dripping from her nose, the pores on her cheeks and the sweat on her forehead. Every last flicker of emotion is on screen for us to see. As the lovers move on from euphoric teenage passion to the responsibilities of adult domesticity, the ensuing arguments may be even more raw and authentic than the sexand that’s saying something. ~ Nicholas Barber

Blue Is the Warmest Colour opens in Britain Nov 15th

 

FILM AT A GLANCE

Philomena (Nov 1st). Both a twinkly odd-couple comedy and a furious indictment of Irish-Catholic institutional cruelty, Stephen Frears’ film stars Steve Coogan (also the co-writer and producer) as a condescending journalist who helps Judi Dench track down the son taken from her 50 years earlier.

Gloria (Nov 1st). A middle-aged Chilean divorcee (Paulina Garcia) remains indomitably positive in the face of a society that would rather ignore her. “Gloria” is an invigorating, big-hearted comedy dramaand the sex scenes aren’t much less explicit than those in "Blue Is the Warmest Colour" (above).

Kill Your Darlings (Nov 8th). Daniel Radcliffe once again plays a bespectacled trouble-maker in a grand seat of learning. But we’re not in Hogwarts any more. This is an exhilarating coming-of-age biopic set at Columbia University, where Radcliffe’s Allen Ginsberg meets William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

The Counsellor (Nov 15th). Cormac McCarthy’s novels have become stomach-knotting films before ("No Country for Old Men", "The Road"), but "The Counsellor", directed by Ridley Scott, is his first original screenplay. Michael Fassbender is the smooth lawyer ruffled by the drug-trafficking business, Javier Bardem the villain with even madder hair than his "No Country..." bob. Subtract one of the Ls if you’re in America.

Computer Chess (Nov 22nd). A quietly brilliant no-budget comedy from Andrew Bujalski, grandmaster of mumblecore, looks back at the long-gone days when geeks didn’t become multi-millionaires. It’s set in 1980, at a tournament to determine the leading computer chess program.

Nebraska (Dec 6th). The most humane of cinema humorists, Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") returns to his home state for a modest black-and-white road movie. Bruce Dern plays an elderly man convinced he has won a million dollars; Will Forte is his adult son, convinced he hasn’t.

American Hustle (Dec 20th). David O. Russell dresses his award-winning "Silver Linings Playbook" castBradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niroin the very worst of 1970s fashions for a true-crime caper about a con man (Christian Bale) who has to work with the FBI. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are the icing on the cake. ~ NB

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