A man in a cinema after a long and intense sex scene: ‘Thank god!’ (A saintly line indeed!) Then he laughs nervously and looks at what is probably his wife or sister sitting next to him.
Watching Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013) is a great opportunity to understand the problem of sex in the cinema and all the things called ‘explicit content’.
Certain moments of the film really gets very close to pornography. Should that be a problem from the aesthetic point of view? Is it NECESSARY to put explicit scenes into the films?
I said that Blue gets CLOSE to pornography. I mean that it does not in try to hide anything we could possibly see during a sexual act. Also these scenes present human relationship in a pure physical form, devoid of its rational and emotional aspect.
However, it never really becomes pornography. First, it never emphasizes those features that are designed to arouse a spectator. Therefore our response to the scene is supposed to be rational and emotional, not physical.
Second, clearly, the scene plays only a certain role in the film. It contributes to a larger narrative, which has a different purpose than to evoke a physical response in the audience.
Note the importance of intimacy in our classification of acceptability. People watch pornography alone and the do not feel anxious about it. The problem comes when we are to share this experience with someone else, or merely in a public space.
Cinema is considered to be a public space AND (because of that?) a public medium. That is why the censorship exists and why we have conventional methods how to picture the erotic content (which stays still the same) IMPLICITLY.
But film should be able to challenge these methods in order to achieve certain effects (and I am not talking about arousing the audience). Blue Is the Warmest Colour does that in order to remain open and true to the authentic experience.
It might sound too poetic, but one gets to this conclusion after thinking about the film for a while. No matter what the content is, the film never looks away. Although Adele looks a bit silly when she dances in the garden, we are allowed to see that. We see how she pulls up her tight jeans, and we see her snots whenever she is crying. The very purpose of the never-ending close-ups is to picture the characters from as close point of view as possible.
Because of its need for visual fidelity (mind that this is a fidelity to experience rather than reality) the film HAS TO show the sex in the way that reminds us of pornography. Moments when lovers cast aside the emotions and thoughts and give up to a physical pleasure are definitely a part of every relationship. In order to remain faithful to the experience of love-life one must show these as well as others.
Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a great film for many reasons but for me it most importantly attempts to picture certain things truly. To do that, it had to break certain taboos, but I feel that any film-goer should be able to accommodate himself or herself to it.