Emma Lea Biography & Facts
Blue Is the Warmest Colour (French: La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2; French pronunciation: [la vi dadɛl ʃapitʁ œ̃n‿e dø]) is a 2013 romance film co-written, co-produced, and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and starring Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. The film follows Adèle (Exarchopoulos), a French teenager who discovers desire and freedom as an aspiring painter, Emma (Seydoux), enters her life. It depicts their relationship from Adèle's high school years to her early adult life and career as a schoolteacher. The film's premise is based on the 2010 graphic novel of the same name by Jul Maroh.Production began in March 2012 and lasted five months. Approximately 800 hours of footage were shot, including extensive B-roll footage, with Kechiche trimming the final cut to 180 minutes. The film generated controversy, much of it about allegations by the crew and lead actresses of poor working conditions on set and the film's raw depiction of sexuality.At the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the film unanimously won the Palme d'Or from the official jury and the FIPRESCI Prize. It is the first film to have the Palme d'Or awarded to both the director and the lead actresses, with Seydoux and Exarchopoulos joining Jane Campion (The Piano) and later Julia Ducournau (Titane) as the only women to have won the award. It received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language. Many critics declared it one of the best films of 2013.
Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is an introverted 15-year-old high-school student. She passes an older woman with short blue hair in the streets one day and is instantly attracted. She sleeps with Thomas, a boy from school, but is ultimately dissatisfied and ends their relationship. After having vivid fantasies about the blue-haired woman while masturbating and kissing Béatrice, one of her female friends, Adèle becomes troubled about her sexual identity. Béatrice says she does not want to proceed further and tells Adèle to forget the kiss.
Adèle's friend, the openly gay Valentin, takes her to a gay dance bar. Adèle later leaves and enters a lesbian bar, where some women flirt with her. The blue-haired woman, art student Emma (Léa Seydoux), is there and intervenes, claiming Adèle is her cousin. Emma and Adèle become friends. After Emma shows up at the school, Adèle's friends suspect her of being a lesbian and ostracise her.
Adèle and Emma grow closer and kiss at a picnic. They later have sex and begin a passionate relationship. Emma's artsy family welcomes Adèle, but Adèle tells her conservative, working-class parents that Emma is her tutor for philosophy class. Some of Adèle's old friends attend her surprise 18th birthday party, but Emma does not.
In the years that follow, the two women move in together. Adèle becomes an elementary school teacher, while Emma tries to advance her painting career by throwing frequent house parties. At one party, Adèle meets Emma's pregnant colleague Lise, gallery owner Joachim, and aspiring actor Samir. Samir discusses America with Adèle while the others discuss sex, and the two become friends. Emma spends more time at the party with Lise.
Emma belittles Adèle's career but encourages her to pursue writing, while Adèle insists she is happy the way she is. Their relationship grows tense as they have little in common. Emma comes home late, having spent the evening working with Lise. Out of loneliness, Adèle sleeps with a male colleague. Emma discovers the cheating and furiously breaks up with Adèle.
Three years later, the two meet at a restaurant. Adèle is happy with her job as a kindergarten teacher but has not moved on: she is still deeply in love with Emma. Emma is in a committed partnership with Lise and helps raise Lise's three-year-old daughter. Emma and Adèle kiss, but Emma withdraws, although she admits she does not feel sexually fulfilled. She tells Adèle that she no longer loves her, but that their relationship was special and she will always have "infinite tenderness" for her. The two part with apologies and tears.
Adèle attends Emma's art exhibition. On one wall is a nude portrait of Adèle that Emma painted during their time together. Emma acknowledges Adèle but is focused on Lise and the other guests. Adèle congratulates Emma on her success and, after a brief conversation with Samir, leaves. He chases after her but goes in the wrong direction, while Adèle walks off into the distance.
Themes and interpretations
Lesbian sexuality is one of the film's primary themes, as the narrative deals with Adèle's exploration of her identity in this context. But some academics have questioned the film's treatment of lesbian sexuality, given that it was directed by a heterosexual man. In Sight & Sound, film scholar Sophie Mayer suggests that in Blue is the Warmest Colour, "Like homophobia, the lesbian here melts away. As with many male fantasies of lesbianism, the film centers on the erotic success and affective failures of relations between women".The issue of perspective was also addressed in a Film Comment review by Kristin M. Jones, who wrote, "Emma's supposedly sophisticated friends make eager remarks about art and female sexuality that seem to mirror the director's problematic approach toward the representation of women".One critic has suggested that the film is not a lesbian film, highlighting the exploration of Adèle's bisexuality. Paulina Plazas wrote in IndieWire that throughout the film, bisexual erasure is "central to understanding Adèle's particular sense that she does not belong as she comes of age."
One recurring thematic element critics and audiences identified is the division of social class and the exploration of freedom and love between the two central characters. The social class division is clear in the two family dinner scenes, with Adèle's conservative, working-class family discussing comparatively banal subjects while Emma's more open-minded, middle-class family mainly discusses more existential matters: art, career, life and passion. Perhaps one of the most significant differences between the families is that Emma's is aware of their lesbian relationship, while Adèle's conservative parents are led to believe the women are just friends.Some critics have noted that class difference is an ongoing theme in Kechiche's filmography. One Film Comment critic wrote, "As in Kechiche's earlier work, social class, and the divisions it creates, are a vital thread; he even changed the first name of the story's passionate protagonist from Clémentine to that of his actress, partly because it means 'justice' in Arabic. His fascination and familiarity with the world of pedagogy, as shown here in Adèle's touching reverence for teaching, is another notable characteristic".
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