Blue Is the Warmest Color, that critical darling of a French film that won the Palme d’Or and Steven Spielberg’s undying affections for its epic (it’s a three-hour movie) and graphic lesbian sex scenes, has been generating a ton of controversy ahead of its U.S. release date. An open (and very crappy) letter from the film’s director to its lead actress criticizing her as “an arrogant and spoiled child” is the latest nugget of behind-the-scenes drama that will probably make the movie a much gossiped-about entry in Leonard Maltin’s movie guides for eons to come.
Back in September, the film’s stars, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, told the Daily Beast that, after the experience with Blue, they’d never work with director Abdellatif Kechiche again. Seydoux specifically said she’d felt “trapped” on the set, and that Kechiche didn’t respect her during the graphic sex scenes. From there, things got way worse. Kechiche confront Seydoux and Exarchopoulos at press conference in Los Angeles that ended, IndieWire explains vaguely, “in tears,” and he later told the French press that the film shouldn’t be released.
But Blue of course was released this weekend (Kechiche later reversed his opinion about the movie not being released), which means that Kechiche had nothing left to do but move on with his life, right? Incorrect, pupil of the internet! He could still write an enraged open letter to Seydoux, and indeed he did, posting it on Rue89.
What makes Kechiche’s letter an exceptional crap email/letter from a dude is that 1) it’s in French, so you know it’s extra indignant, and 2) he threatens vague legal action, writing that Seydoux “slandered” him, and adding, “I will come back; it is for her to explain in court." The letter itself is pretty long, but this excerpt tells you basically everything you need to know about the rollercoaster of anger Kechiche seems to be puking on right now:
A "polemic" which, swelling in France and abroad, has even forced me...to break my silence in full promotion of film festivals. This polemic, more vile and detestable in the background than the first (but in the soil where it could easily thrive), especially wants to get dirty, and what appalled me and hurt me more deeply, wants to mess [with the] virginity of the first vision and the reception of the film by the audience.
And why is that? Because Miss Seydoux, who after having repeatedly thanked me publicly and in private and hav[ing] wept in my arms at Cannes for allowing her to camp a noble role, to have sublimated and have taught both drama, has, against all odds and all personal coherence, radically changed her attitude towards me...
Cool story, bro. On the plus side, people seem to like your movie, so it could be worse. You could be post-Deer Hunter Michael Cimino.
Image via AP, Lionel Cironneau