The lesbian graphic novelist who wrote “Blue is the Warmest Color” calls the film “porn”

 
 

Yesterday, I rounded up a handful of Blue is the Warmest Color reviews that captured film critics’ raptures over the ten-minute display of “impressive scissoring” that takes place in the lesbian coming of age story. Not everyone was as hyped on the graphic sex scene. IndieWire noted that “as it ran on and on we found ourselves escaping the film’s spell a bit and starting to contemplate the spectacle of the flesh in itself.” But that critique is nothing on the stern rebuke Julie Maroh — who wrote the graphic novel the film is based on — threw down on her blog.

I consider that [director Abdellatif] Kechiche and I have contradictory aesthetic approaches, perhaps complementary. The fashion in which he chose to shoot these scenes is coherent with the rest of what he his creation. Sure, to me it seems far away from my own method of creation and representation, but it would be very silly of me to reject something on the pretext that’s it different from my own vision.

That’s me as a writer. Now, as a lesbian…

It appears to me this was what was missing on the set: lesbians.

I don’t know the sources of information for the director and the actresses (who are all straight, unless proven otherwise) and I was never consulted upstream. Maybe there was someone there to awkwardly imitate the possible positions with their hands, and/or to show them some porn of so-called “lesbians” (unfortunately it’s hardly ever actually for a lesbian audience). Because — except for a few passages — this is all that it brings to my mind: a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn, and me feel very ill at ease. Especially when, in the middle of a movie theater, everyone was giggling. The heteronormative laughed because they don’t understand it and find the scene ridiculous. The gay and queer people laughed because it’s not convincing, and found it ridiculous. And among the only people we didn’t hear giggling were the potential guys too busy feasting their eyes on an incarnation of their fantasies on screen.

I totally get Kechiche’s will to film pleasure. The way he filmed these scenes is to me directly related to another scene, in which several characters talk about the myth of the feminine orgasm, as…mystic and far superior to the masculine one. But here we go, to sacralize once more womanhood in such ways. I find it dangerous.

As a feminist and lesbian spectator, I can not endorse the direction Kechiche took on these matters.

But I’m also looking forward to what other women will think about it. This is simply my personal stance.

You can read the full text of Maroh’s blog post here in French, and here in English Unfortunately, we’ll be waiting a while to form our own opinion on the movie. It doesn’t even open in France until October. .

 
 

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