Yes, there is an extended explicit sex scene, which you may have heard of, but as any biography, “La vie d’Adèle” (Blue is the Warmest Colour), this is just another trace of her anxious life. This movie is a portrait, in body and soul, of Adèle, relying on endless close-ups of her lips, through her madly and agonising first love with a blue-haired art student.
Kechiche did way more than the classic “love at first sight”, pushing the boundaries of the medium in a very voyeuristic way; all the erotic emotions were shot to lead the spectator to a huge gap between the hopeless couple and their exhausted love. A conversation with a male gallery owner justifies the approach used in the sex scenes, while staring at paintings of naked women they wonder how artists throughout history were fascinated by the power of female sexuality.
In fact, it is not just a matter of background that guides their relation to a never-ending point. Adèle likes to read and eat, especially her father’s pasta that she shameless shovels without saying a word while watching some cheesy French television show. In chapter one she is in high school, where she truly appreciates literature, despite the way her teacher overanalyses it. Adèle’s aim is to become a pre-school teacher and whilst being completely modest in her ambitions, and seemingly filled with joy over this prospect; truly she is never satisfied with life. On the other hand, Emma sees on the ideas of Jean- Paul Sartre an impulse for her sexual liberation. She is an aspiring painter, convinced of her own values and choices, while as much deeply submersed into the art world. Later on, Emma incites her partner to higher goals, perhaps to become a writer? Adèle is again completely discarded; she is too down to earth, too resigned with her life, and their love starts fading away as Emma’s blue hair is disappearing. A conversation between Emma and a friend about Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, both painters of the female body per excellence, replies to the scene where Adèle is being painted almost as a Venus of Urbino by Titian, and even if they talk pompously about different perspectives all their lives, Adèle is there, living the reality.
Blue is the Warmest Colour gives us visually the highest physical ecstasy. The film’s last sequence provides the spectator (in a very conventional way) that there is no hope for them, no other body or love. Blue is not only the colour of the hair, clothes and walls. Blue is their love crystallised.