Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo has made headlines for mass walkouts at Cannes amid its nearly 15-minute cunnilingus scene. Audience members have panned the film, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche of Blue is the Warmest Color fame, as “contemptible, male gazing garbage” and “leery trash.” Now, an anonymous source alleges that the actors performed the reportedly unsimulated sex scene under the influence of alcohol, after being pressured into it by Kechiche.
Intermezzo, a sequel to 2017's Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, premiered at Cannes last Thursday. It follows a group of friends partying in the south of France and, apparently, shaking their butts for the camera’s lingering gaze. (Reuters called it a “three-hour twerk-fest.”) The scene in question reportedly involves cunnilingus performed by actor Romeo De Latour on actress Ophélie Bau in the bathroom stall of a night club. Over the weekend, following the film’s screening, an anonymous source raised questions about the conditions under which the scene was filmed. IndieWire reports:
The Midi Libre posted an account Saturday morning from a person close to production who says that Kechiche had to push his actors to create that scene. A tweet translating part of the publication reads: ”Kechiche absolutely wanted a non-simulated sex scene, something the actors didn’t want to do. But by the way of insistence, and over time and with alcohol being regularly consumed, he managed to get what he wanted.”
Kechiche’s talent agency declined Jezebel’s request for comment. Neither Bau nor De Latour, both of whom were notably absent from a Cannes press conference, responded to a request for comment, but we will update this post if they do.
This is not the first time that Kechiche’s approach to filming sex scenes has raised questions. In 2013, Léa Seydoux said of the ten days it took to shoot the 10-minute sex scene in Blue is the Warmest Color, “[I]t was kind of humiliating sometimes.” She said she felt like a “prostitute” and added, “He was using three cameras, and when you have to fake your orgasm for six hours... I can’t say that it was nothing.” (In response, Kechiche called Seydoux an “arrogant, spoiled child” and appeared to threaten litigation for libel.) Both Seydoux and co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos said they would never work with Kechiche again.
Last year, Kechiche was accused of sexual assault. He denied the allegations.