"Great admiration for the youth of today"
by Fabien Lemercier
- Abdellatif Kechiche explains the directions he took to make the remarkable Blue is the Warmest Colour, Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
An encounter on the afternoon preceding the official presentation of Blue is the Warmest Colour [+see also:
interview: Abdellatif Kechiche
film profile], in competition at the 66th Cannes Film Festival, with Abdellatif Kechiche, relaxed but visibly exhausted, probably by the last lap in the montage of his film, which had received an excellent reception from the critics the night before (review) on the Croisette.
Adolescence, and especially young girls, is a theme you have addressed in several of your films. What is it that touches you in this stage of our lives?
It's maybe more an epoch, the period of youthfulness. We always keep a part of our adolescence within us. It's such a decisive moment in our lives. But I think I also feel great admiration for the youth of today, as compared to mine which was so much more closed, blocked. Today, I observe a young generation so free, open-minded, attentive to the outside world, committed, that I want to share the emotion it arouses in me, whether it's when the characters are dancing, demonstrating, laughing or arguing. The passion and energy which are conveyed by today's youth call out to me and give me a kind of hope for the future. I also find the young generation very appealing because they no longer pay attention to, or to a much lesser degree, sexual, racial, economic, ethnic and social differences.
Why did you choose not to include the tragic dimension which is in the comic strip Blue is the Warmest Colour, from which your film is adapted?
The theme of break-ups is always painful. But the film gives more the idea of cycles and new beginnings, hope, openness and paths to be pursued. This suffering is not the end of the tale. It's also perhaps our experience of life, that encounters, joy and suffering eventually pass and are transformed. There was the idea that we also build our identities with all this, and there's maybe something more positive in this film as compared with the others.
Why did you decide to tell the story of a homosexual relationship with explicit sex scenes by treating it simply as a passionate love affair with which everyone can identify?
That happened naturally, if I dare say so. I didn't ask myself too many questions about the theme of homosexuality. I didn't really realise, except on very rare occasions in the shooting, that it was about two women. I was focusing on two people who were in love. In any event, it wasn't a preoccupation throughout the entire process. Though it's not something I wanted to brush aside. It just happened that way: we were more concerned by an interrogation on the relationship of two people in love.
The film gives a lot of room to painting and art in general. Was Adèle Exarchopoulos a muse, a model that you could sculpt cinematographically ?
Of course, in the case of Adèle, but also Léa, and Hafsia. Each time I meet an actress, she does indeed become a kind of muse and I want her to be a continual source of inspiration. That's also the way the character should be seen, with all the questions I ask myself about this idea of someone who becomes a source of inspiration, at what point is he or she an object, at what point does he or she become a guide. In terms of esthetics, I tried more than in my previous films to work on colours, tones and light.