Last night I went to see ‘Blue is the warmest colour’. We arrived at the cinema quite late so the only seats available in the small screening area where on the front row. The movie does feature quite a lot of hand-held camera footage, so for periods of the movie, especially the sequences set around dining tables, I felt quite nauseous. For the duration of these scenes I had to stare at the floor and concentrate on my breathing. The film is 3 hours long, which made staying the duration a feat of endurance on my part. Despite this, I am glad it stayed to the end.
As with all good cinema, I have thought about the movie a lot since. Themes and meanings continue to reveal themselves long after the event. Adèle, the lead, is revealed to be a primarily sensual individual - not predisposed to over analysing situations. She lives, for better or worse, in the moment. We are taken through here life from mid-teens to mid twenties. But I don’t want to talk in detail about events - For me the movie is not about individual events, although they are handled extraordinarily well by the all involved.
The main thing I want to say about the movie, and the thing I am struggling to identify as having experienced as strongly in other works, is the movies affective quality. I want to say ‘maybe it is something to do with the running time, or the camera work - the close ups of Adèle’s face, the tears and snot and hair, the colour palette, the use of blue, the art - painting and figurative - depicting the female form (of which the movie itself is a fine addition), the conversations, the meals and their reception amongst different groups…’. But of course, it is all this, taken as a whole, that make the movie so affective. Picking out one aspect seems reductive. It is much more than the sum of its parts. The movie is immersive rather than voyeuristic in that, in the hours and days after viewing, you understand the value of Adèle’s way of being. In this way it is transformative beautiful art.