Blue Is the Warmest Color was released over seven years ago. The film debuted at the Cannes film festival, riding some controversy, but the film still took home the top prize. But 2013 was a difficult year for the film’s director, who had to wade through problematic working conditions allegation, and later sexual assault claims.
French movies are, huh; they are shocking, tender, and extremely expressive. Most European movies are distinctive from the Western movies we are all used to. But Blue Is the Warmest Color cranked the weirdness and expression to a hundred, resulting in an even the leading ladies calling out the filming process and proclaiming they would never work with director Abdellatif Kechiche.
But what really happened on the set of the acclaimed movie. A film which showcased one of the longest lesbian sex scenes in film history. How did a statement film got mired in controversy, and later the director had to fend off allegations of sexual assaults? Here we are recapping the saga which took place seven years ago and still doesn’t seem to die down.
Blue Is the Warmest Color Controversy – Leading Ladies Didn’t Love Working in the Film
Filming a movie is not supposed to something you suffer through. Really, no job in the world should have a person suffer through every day, but according to actresses Lea Seydoux and Adele Excharchopoulos, who played Emma and Adele in the movie, the filming process was “unbearable.”
Blue Is the Warmest Color won the top prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. One of the biggest prizes a movie can get in the world of cinema, and little over two months later, before the movie even saw wide release, there were rumblings of a difficult shooting process and the director’s harsh conditions.
The film union even spoke out of the difficult working condition for the cast. But the most telling accusations came from the leading ladies. Lea said she felt like a “prostitute,” and Adele said working in the movie was a horrible experience.
The director of the movie defended himself against the allegations during the press tour, but the damage was done. The movie was surrounded by controversy, and there was a dark spot in what could’ve been a perfect rollout for the acclaimed director.
Abdellatif threw shades as Lea, whose talk of difficult working conditions was somewhat equated to her upbringing. The director said that there was no difficult working condition on the set, but who would you believe, almost all who worked in the film or a single director?
Blue Is the Warmest Color‘s director went so far as to say that had his movie not won the Palm d’Or, his career would have been done because of the allegation. But the leading actresses detailed some horrific shooting sequences where they almost felt like exploited.
The director was criticized by Adele, who said that she was hurt after filming a scene where Lea’s character was supposed to hit her. The scene was shot repeatedly, and it was not something Adele was expecting to work in a movie.
Though all three, the director and the leading ladies, were seen happy together at Cannes, there were problems brewing. Lea and Adele said that the director never thanked them on set, and even after winning the award, he could not utter those words to the two performers who brought the characters to life on screen.
After the movie saw a wide release and strong critical reception, the actresses said they would never work with the director again. And before you call Lea and Adele entitled, imagine this, the movie was shot in a sixth month period where the director shot 800 hours worth of footage.
From the 800 hours of footage, three hours of film were used for the final cut. That is a lot of footage filmed, which did not even make it on the final cut. Now, that is some perfectionist level of filming, which would have made Kubrick proud, but 2013 was not the 70s or 80s.
Even watching the movie today, there are some difficult scenes in the movie. A seven-minute-long lesbian sex scene was the talking point in 2013, and it is still visceral and raw. The three hours long movie definitely looks like some pain went into filming it.
Though Lea and Adele complained at the time about the working condition and caused some controversy, it seems the movie helped them build callouses. Lea Seydoux later said that the movie was an experience and helped her career move forward.
Blue Is the Warmest Color Controversy – Sexual Assault Allegation Against the Director
Abdellatif Kechiche was accused of sexual assault by a 29-year-old actress in 2018.
Director Abdellatif Kechiche was constantly followed by the Blue Is the Warmest Color controversy. The condition of filming did not earn him a lot of friends in the media and film industry. Still, the director was working smoothly, trying to move on from the controversy.
But controversy came for the director again in 2018 when a 29-year-old actress accused him of sexual assault. The unnamed actress claimed that after an event, the Abdellatif and she were drinking, which resulted in her ending up in his room.
The actress claimed she was unconscious, but she said Abdellatif was on top of her when she came to it. Her pants were unzipped, and the award-winning director of Blue Is the Warmest Color was touching her all over, allegedly. The controversy resulted in the 2013 events coming up again, but nothing came of the allegations.
Abdellatif Kechiche is still working in the French film industry. His most recent work was released in 2019.