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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

A question about ”Blue is The Warmest Colour” and its perception as a porn flick?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21448 points ) April 12th, 2014

Since someone linked the film in another thread I checked it out, partly because I thought the film was a fake, I don’t follow the entire hubbub in entertainment, secondly, if it wasn’t fake I wanted to know what the entire buzz was about. While researching it I discovered it was the darling of the Cannes’ Film Festival even being bestowed with the Palme d’Or, wonder if that is like a French Oscar. The only version I was able to view, and it is a long flick, was in French, so I could not tell exactly what was going on; it seem like a girl meets girl, girl gets girl, girl loses girl, girl gets girl again, maybe?, with some sort of political activism going on. There were things said about the extended bedroom scene between actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, (which could prompt several questions just around them), unlike Bound there was no subdued lighting, oblique camera angles and they were not under a sheet when they cuddled at the end. I believe it was given a PG-17, must have been in France, cannot see that rating here in the US, I am thinking if the MPAA did not get cut to hell here in the US, it would be Rated-R of not PG-18 (certainly can’t see how it could be less racy than Showgirls). The French version I am sure would have a hard time flying in the US, even though people here seem to want realism, they really do not want that much realism. Around the one hour and 18 min. mark, give or take, when Léa Seydoux had her face in Adèle Exarchopoulos’ crotch, though they stopped short of actually showing lips on lips at one point you seen moisture all over Léa Seydoux’s chin, a similar scene was cut from Boys Don’t Cry as too graphic. As far as Blue went if the director would have went one step further and made it true reality, not hiding any of the fingers, tongues etc. and were they went would it still be seen as a Palme d’Or, or other award worthy critically acclaim movie or just a long glorified porn flick here in the States?

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5 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

First things first, the French only have four ratings, and Blue Is the Warmest Colour received a 12 (meaning no one under the age of 12 should see it). In the US, the film received an NC-17 rating. I have no idea from where you might be getting PG-17 or PG-18.

As to your question, it’s unclear whether you want us to assume that the film still won the Palme d’Or in your hypothetical scenario. But since you are asking only about what the reaction in the States would be, I will respond as if it had. I think this is important because Americans tend to be conscious of a film’s pedigree. The same exact film might be seen very differently depending on whether it came out of the Cannes Film Festival or an LA porn studio. This is not say they’d be seen as identical. It is usually possible to discern whether the plot is a vehicle for the sex or the sex is a vehicle for the plot, and that will also affect how a film is interpreted. But people do tend to judge a book by its cover and a film by its studio (at least to some extent).

As such, I imagine a more graphic version of the film might still be considered worthy of critical acclaim. But I also think it would be far more controversial and divisive. Americans are incredibly prudish for the most part, and their tolerance for same-sex relationships is still largely at the self-congratulatory stage (“hey, look how accepting I am!”). A film that lacked any sort of discretionary cuts would test both of these limits, and it would almost certainly break them for most people. While here in the real world we have theaters ignoring the NC-17 rating and opinion columnists praising that decision, the hypothetical scenario would probably involve critics and pundits tripping over themselves while trying to explain why Blue is a great film that no one in the US should see.

zenvelo's avatar

First of all, porn is not reality. Porn is for the purpose of being used to augment the sexual gratification of the viewer, nothing more. Even the supposed “art porn” of the seventies was nothing more than to help people achieve orgasm. That is the sole basis of evaluating porn – did it help people get off?

Blue Is The Warmest Color is not porn, it is the depiction of a very real loving relationship from beginning to end. And it is done very well. And that is why it is not more graphic, because it did not need to be more graphic. And that is how the director is judged and why he is praised: he knew how far to take it and get the actresses to depict a real emotional involvement, but not cross to mere depictions of sex.

Did you see the movie @Hypocrisy_Central ? It was a really good film, and while the sex was an important part of it, it was much more than sex, it was the whole roller coaster of a relationship and the risks people take in seeking the person they love and the life they want.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@SavoirFaire As to your question, it’s unclear whether you want us to assume that the film still won the Palme d’Or in your hypothetical scenario.
I am not sure where you see a hypothetical issue in there, the film won the Palme d’Or, my questions is simply if the film had been a tad more graphic or real in the sex would it be seen as a critically acclaimed movie or would those 1.5 to 3 total minutes of seeing the fingers, lips, etc. engaged with or in sexual organs enough to take if from the film it is now to a pornographic flick by US social standards?

The same exact film might be seen very differently depending on whether it came out of the Cannes Film Festival or an LA porn studio.
If I am following you correct, you are saying if Sin City, Digital Sin, Wicked Pictures or Vivid Entertainment had done Blue exactly as it is now, it would be seen as a porno even though the amount sex scenes in it would not total 1/5 (possibly lower), of the total running minutes of the film? If that is what you are saying, why do you believe that would be so?

Americans are incredibly prudish for the most part,…]
”Prudish”, Americans, really? We use sex to sell nearly *everything here, from candy, eye classes, snack chips, domain service, clothes and scents, burgers, even bubble gum if they can do it; and may already have. You have music videos dripping with near naked women and sometimes men, most women out on the concert trail are trying to outdo each other in who can twerk, finger, gyrate, or more, over their other female entertainment counterparts. Most of the adult content producers are here in the US. Sex is the running joke that fuels most sitcoms; it is all over TV evening dramas. Add to that people hitting the sheets the first night they meet, hardly taking enough time for coffee. If the US is prudish, I would hate to see what a wanton nation looks like.

@zenvelo First of all, porn is not reality.
What media outside of a documentary, news, or live footage at a concert or sporting even it real?

Blue Is The Warmest Color is not porn, it is the depiction of a very real loving relationship from beginning to end. And it is done very well. And that is why it is not more graphic, because it did not need to be more graphic.
Then maybe you have an idea as to why the director had to show as much as he did, and why that wasn’t too much? If the film had such weight in its contents and acting, could it not have stood without any sex scene at all?

Did you see the movie @Hypocrisy_Central?
Yes, you must have missed the details that said, ’The only version I was able to view, and it is a long flick, was in French, so I could not tell exactly what was going on; it seem like a girl meets girl, girl gets girl, girl loses girl, girl gets girl again, maybe?, with some sort of political activism going on’.

It was a really good film, and while the sex was an important part of it, it was much more than sex,..]
I am all ears, why was the sex important to show the way it was shown? It could have been implied through a window with a thin curtain, or as shadows on the wall. It could have been started then faded out to another scene or dissolved to a different chapter in the film.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central “I am not sure where you see a hypothetical issue in there”

A more graphic version of Blue Is the Warmest Color might not have won the Palme d’Or, and I just wasn’t sure if you wanted us to assume for the sake of the question that we were considering a more graphic version of the film that had nevertheless taken the prize at Cannes. That’s all I meant, and your clarification seems to confirm that I assumed correctly.

“If I am following you correct, you are saying if Sin City, Digital Sin, Wicked Pictures or Vivid Entertainment had done Blue exactly as it is now, it would be seen as a porno even though the amount sex scenes in it would not total 1/5 (possibly lower), of the total running minutes of the film?”

No. I am saying that a film’s reputation—for better or worse—often depends in part on the studio of origin. If the film had been made by a porn studio, I doubt it would have been seen as porn. As you point out, after all, the sex comprises a relatively small amount of the film. Nevertheless, I believe that many Americans would think of the film differently if it came out of a porn studio. That is, I think they would view the sex scenes in a different light (“oh, of course they have such explicit sex in the film… look who made it!”). Note that I am not saying this is a reasonable thing to do. I am simply saying that some people would probably think this way.

”‘Prudish,’ Americans, really?”

Yes, really. Prudishness is a matter of attitude, not exposure; and Americans are very immature when it comes to sex. As you say, they are willing to use sex to sell everything, but it’s a national uproar when a woman’s nipple gets shown by accident during the Super Bowl. They’ll have sex at the drop of a hat, but they can’t bear a frank and open discussion about sex in the classroom. They’ll cheer gays and lesbians for coming out of the closet, but they’ll shut their eyes at the sight of two men walking hand in hand. Women don’t carry condoms with them because they’re afraid people will think they are sluts or that it will be used against them if they get raped. Sex jokes run on innuendo. Sex can’t just be treated as something that is occasionally funny in and of itself; sex itself often is the joke (“ha ha, they had sex!”). It’s basically a teenager’s conception of sex that we see draped all across the American cultural landscape. Real discussions of sex are still swept under the rug. There’s more to sex than having it or not having it, and so there is a lot more to prudishness than displaying things sexually or covering them up. Both can be prudish in their own way.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@SavoirFaire I am saying that a film’s reputation—for better or worse—often depends in part on the studio of origin. If the film had been made by a porn studio, I doubt it would have been seen as porn. As you point out, after all, the sex comprises a relatively small amount of the film. Nevertheless, I believe that many Americans would think of the film differently if it came out of a porn studio. That is, I think they would view the sex scenes in a different light (“oh, of course they have such explicit sex in the film… look who made it!”). Note that I am not saying this is a reasonable thing to do. I am simply saying that some people would probably think this way.
For the most part, I really cannot say I disagree with that. If Fluther is a microcosm of how things work in the US, going through the archives you can see three near identical questions but how each is treated seems to depend on who presented it. I can see how people would filter how they see something by who brought it to them, even if the exact same thing.

Yes, really. Prudishness is a matter of attitude, not exposure; and Americans are very immature when it comes to sex.
Again, I can’t say too much against that. I, however, don’t call that being prudish, more like emotionally/socially defrauded.

Thank you for your answer.

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