Casual Talk on Blue is the Warmest Color
Munna initiated this exchange but then conveniently left me and GF to do all the ‘dirty talk’, presumably so that he could watch, and then at the end of it suggested that this be put up in a separate post. So this is truly exhibitionist now but in any case…
Saw it yesterday. Acting was good but I think first couple of hour was self indulgent. There were many blank shots (like sleeping with open mouth) without adding to tone or to narrative. Only in last hour movie picked up and showed good drama.
My only question is, would we be giving same attention to the movie if Emma was a guy instead of a girl.
ps. – I am not sure what was the intention of ending. Adèle was invited there by Emma and the guy knew Emma.
ps1 – There was some very good music in movie.
The movie has a strong soundtrack (in the Wong Kar-Wai ‘eclectic’ fashion). Unfortunately it’s not been released on CD anywhere (or for that matter on iTunes).
To be honest the film did polarize reviewers in some ways. I liked it a lot but I can certainly see the other side here.
The guy is there at one of the earlier parties as well with the whole artsy crowd. He seems a bit out of place even then. My sense of the ending just was that a possibly straight relationship is missed by Adele because she still hasn’t gotten over Emma. Because Emma and the guy know each other there’s perhaps a kind of substitution at work. Except that for Adele her sense of loss is only retriggered at that point. The closing scene is a bit open-ended. Other things might happen with Adele in the future but we don’t know. I actually liked this gesture because one of the things the film does is insist on the integrity of the relationship. In this sense if Emma were a guy it would just be a regular movie. And though there have been lots of movies that try to dignify lesbian relationships (in a polemical sense) this movie is relatively rare in trying to give it the ‘familiar’ resonance of a heterosexual one. So you have situations and moments play out as if this were all happening between a man and a woman. At least I felt more empathy here than I usually do with such (lesbian) subjects (though I can’t claim to have seen everything relevant in this context!) and I think it’s partly because the director presents a lesbian relationship in very straight fashion in terms of many of the iconic situations he creates [the lovers in the park with that whole dreamy feel to the scene, the visceral sex even in a pornographic sense which is all too common in mainstream heterosexual representations (though also so in art-house lesbian films even if it's not easy to think of a film that is comparable), the loud jealous fights, the soundtrack which involves a number of iconic heterosexual numbers.. key here is Aventura's huge Latin hit from some years ago], and so on. Again not necessarily saying all of this stuff is unique to this film but I think and for want of a better word the director makes it a somewhat transcendent love story in terms of many of his registers and codes which is different from the usual ‘alternative’ film in this respect. So again it worked for me but I can certainly see the other side.
Also on those many shots which stress the banal ‘bodily’ aspects of the human (sleeping with one’s mouth open, or other such ‘awkward’ things) I think that ties in with the visceral sex. Because even as one might idealize love and all such ‘relationality’ there always remains that which is purely physical. One might say a strong love relationship is also deeply physical. In the sense of satisfying certain bodily needs (or instincts or urges.. whatever language one prefers) but equally in terms of exposing the body to the other. Not just in terms of nakedness but also this other sense whereby one is comfortable enough to be ‘awkward’ before the other (the point I started out with). Freud always felt that the ego was a bodily ego, a point that has not often been stressed in more traditional interpretations. But in any case the strong (if not ideal) love relationship should not seek to sublimate those more bodily instincts but try to satisfy them, retaining of course the that other level of mental companionship or what have you. There have been a few films (all the titles escape me at present) about strangers encountering each other just for sexual purposes but then building up a relationship out of it. Because in sex one sometimes gives oneself over so completely to the other or in such singular ways that a bond is formed. This is not about ‘carnality’ in the vulgar sense. This is the point behind the kamasutra and if you think about it it emerges from the very same culture that also gives us yoga. The latter builds on a very similar principal. In neither case is is about divorcing the body from the ‘self’ if you will but it is certainly about using the body as a pathway. I don’t mean to take this analogy too far though again the disciplinary aspects that are evident in yoga are also there in the kamasutra postures! It’s equally hard to do both!
This and your previous comment are superb. I haven’t read much on it since having seen it just the other day, but these comments to my mind really shed light on the film. To be honest having just seen it, while I really found it moving and well-acted, I couldn’t quite “read” the film, grasp its significance beyond it being an emotionally compelling work. But this might be for the very reasons that you point out – that it takes a lot of very familiar, tried-and-true tropes of heterosexual screen romances and applies them to a lesbian love story. I recall, well before having seen the film, reading that there was a dustup over the sex scenes being approached with a “male gaze” and while I find this term problematic for all sorts of reasons it occurs to me that in light of what you’re talking about here, this specific criticism of the sex scenes might be a sign of the film’s success–a result of the overall design to treat this relationship using codes typically reserved for romantic films centered around men and women. In other words the film really subverts “heteronormativity” and as a result its been criticized for some of the gestures that are entirely necessary to this subversion.
thanks much GF..
“In other words the film really subverts “heteronormativity” and as a result its been criticized for some of the gestures that are entirely necessary to this subversion.”
perfectly summed up..
Agree with “I think it’s partly because the director presents a lesbian relationship in very straight fashion” and I think GF also has similar reading “I really found it moving and well-acted, I couldn’t quite “read” the film, grasp its significance beyond it being an emotionally compelling work.”
If you see the sex was pivotal to relationship before they show them living as couple. But when they start living together, Adele was acting like wife, making food and serving it to guests. She felt jealous when Emma was talking to other lady or when Emma was at night. Even after hard work Adele insisted on sex which was curtly rejected by Emma like long time married couple.