By Stefanie Sybens (Belgium)
A class struggle governed by love in Blue is the Warmest Color
Blue is the Warmest Color also known as La Vie d’Adèle is a movie created by Abdellatif Kechiche. It has won the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Moreover, the movie is based on the 2010 French graphic novel La Vie d’Adèle by Julie Maroh.
The movie zooms in on the life of a 15-year-old girl named Adèle, played by Adèle Exarchopolous, who is trying to find her true self in a world that is constantly changing. We become the witness of Adèle’s transformation of a teenager conflicted about her sexual identity to a renewed Adèle who creates a future for herself staying true to her working-class upbringing. This film is epic in length, running for nearly three hours and has the opportunity to slowly glide through the protagonist’s life whereas other movies have the tendency to rush through the entire plot. Its realistic style also provides us with a lot of extreme close-ups.
Adèle’s life changes when she sees a blue-haired girl named Emma, played by Léa Seydoux. We see how crossing this girl on the street makes her feel conflicted about herself. The next shot provides us with a glimpse off Adèle’s bedroom, where she fantasizes about Emma which makes her feel more aroused than thinking about a boy. However, this incident makes her feel even more guilty as the next day she gets briefly involved with a boy at school. The movie continues with Adèle and Emma developing an emotional and physical connection fueled by Emma’s appreciation of aesthetics. Alternating shots are shown between their conversations where Adèle merely functions as Emma’s muse and their explicit sex scene which took ten days to shoot.
Although the main topic throughout the story is the kind of universal love we encounter in life, we are dealing with a class struggle as well. Adèle, being raised by working-class parents, finds her passion in teaching children at an elementary school which doesn’t coincide with Emma’s artistic upbringing. There are notorious examples to be found in the movie such as the spaghetti-diner which takes place at Adèle’s parents. Her father agrees with developing an artistic dimension into your life, however, you have to earn money as well to provide for your needs. It becomes more and more clear to us that the life they envisioned for themselves isn’t similar to their partner’s needs.
As Adèle is honored to function as Emma’s muse, she somewhat feels pressured to write as Emma keeps encouraging her. Emma doesn’t get the workings of Adèle’s ambitions who is satisfied with educating children. Their differences which seem to enlarge as time progresses causes them to drift apart and end up at opposite sides of the turning table. It causes Adèle to have an affair whereas Emma is being drawn to Lise, a friend she meets at a party. Towards the end of the story we are being confronted with the separation of Adèle and Emma where the latter ends up being in a relationship with Lise. They meet each other for the last time at Emma’s exhibition where it becomes clear that Emma will be forever remembered as Adèle’s first love.
The last shot contains Adèle leaving the exhibition, walking on the street with a broken heart but she remained true to herself and finally has found herself in a world that continually tried to turn her into something else, including Emma.