Monday, January 13, 2014

My LAFCA Awards Presentation for 'Blue Is the Warmest Color'

On January 11, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association held our annual awards banquet. During the event, an individual critic presents an award for a film, performance or craftsperson. (Our full list of winners is here.) I was honored to give our Best Foreign-Language Film prize to Blue Is the Warmest Color and its director, Abdellatif Kechiche. I've been championing the movie since Cannes, so this was a thrill.

Kechiche was in attendance for our event, as was his lead actress Adèle Exarchopoulos, who tied for Best Actress with Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett. Each presenter is advised to take no more than 90 seconds. (We prefer having our winners speak, not us long-winded critics.) Here was what I had to say about Blue Is the Warmest Color from the podium....

Good Evening.  

Since it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Blue Is the Warmest Color has been one of the year’s most discussed and debated movies. But for those of us who fell in love with director Abdellatif Kechiche’s romantic drama, all the noise surrounding this film has never threatened to drown out the gentle, beautiful story that he and his actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux have crafted.  

Loosely adapted from a graphic novel, Blue Is the Warmest Color is about a young woman named Adele’s coming of age. But it’s also a love story, one filled with tenderness and eroticism that gives us a full sense of two individuals growing together and coming apart over the course of several years. Wise and melancholy, this film hurts like real life. And yet watching Blue Is the Warmest Color is invigorating: Kechiche has taken the seemingly mundane building blocks of everyday experience — falling in love, finding our purpose — and he’s created something singular and profound.   

This movie is the triumph of an observant, curious filmmaker, but it’s also a triumph for his actresses and their committed, compassionate performances. Like so many of the best films, Blue Is the Warmest Color transcends language just as it transcends geography. Man or woman, straight or gay, whatever our nationality, we saw ourselves up there on the screen in Adele and her girlfriend Emma’s journey. We share in these characters’ happiness, we worry when they hit tough times, and when the film is over, we wish them nothing but the best — even if that means they won’t end up together.   

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the director of our Best Foreign Language Film winner, Mr. Abdellatif Kechiche.

(Photo of Mr. Kechiche and me courtesy of the very talented Shiloh Strong.)