Abdellatif Kechiche

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

7.0 Games of Love and Chance (2003)
7.0 La Graine et le Mulet (2007)
7.1 Black Venus (2010)
6.6 Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
7.0 Mektoub My Love Canto Uno (2017)
5.8 Mektoub My Love Intermezzo (2019)

Abdellatif Kechiche

La Faute a Voltaire/ Blame it on Voltaire/ Poetical Refugee (2000)

L'Esquive/ Games of Love and Chance (2003)

La Graine et le Mulet/ The Secret of the Grain/ Couscous (2007)

Venus Noire/ Black Venus (2010)

There is probably a great film buried in all the sex, food and cigarettes of La Vie d'Adele/ Blue is the Warmest Color (2013). The problem is that Kechiche falls into the ultimate French stereotype that a film must have a ridiculous number of scenes showing people eating, smoking and having sex. The emphasis on showing every detail of lesbian sex is equivalent equivalent to a horror movie that shows all the gorey details of a man's intestine being torn apart instead of subtly letting the viewer imagine it. If one removed all the sex, the eating and the smoking, this would be a good one-hour film. Instead, it feels way overlong for what it has to say.

Adele is a teenager who lives in the suburbs with her parents, presumably the only child. Every day she takes the bus and then the metro to get to her high school. Today's lesson is about predestination and love at first sight. She is a regular girl with her regular group of girlfriends. They think that a handsome guy, Thomas, is in love with Adele. Adele is shy but Thomas breaks the ice on the bus. She's nervous, excited but at the same time not completely sure. Love at first sight comes in a different variety: Adele is struck by an older girl with blue hair who does not disguise being a lesbian. Thomas gets aggressive and they make out at a movie, but at night Adele masturbates dreaming of the blue-haired girl. Adele and Thomas make love but she's not happy. She confesses to her gay friend Valentin that she's faking it. She breaks up with Thomas and leaves crying. At home she cries too. Life goes on and one day at school she's approached by a cute girl who kisses her. Adele does not object. When she meets the same girl again in the school's bathroom, it's Adele who is aggressive, and the other girl rejects her. Basically, the other girl has simply proven to Adele that she's a lesbian. Adele is so disturbed she refuses to talk to her gay friend, but he takes her to a gay club and, wandering around, Adele ends up meeting the girl with blue hair, Emma, who turns out to be an art student. Emma and Adele are immediately attracted to each other. They meet again when Emma shows up in front of Adele's high school. Adele's friends guess the truth and accuse Adele of being a lesbian. Adele reacts violently to be called a lesbian in public. Adele keeps seeing Emma and is curious how Emma became a lesbian. Adele kisses Emma in a park and they have sex at Emma's studio/apartment. Emma takes Adele to the gay parade. And Emma even introduces Adele to her parents, who are used to Emma's sexuality and welcome Adele. They make love again, always with ecstatic pleasure. At home Adele's parents surprise her with a birthday party: Adele just turned 18. When Adele introduces Emma to her parents, it's a different story: Emma pretends to have a boyfriend and that she's helping Adele with philosophy studies. At night they have sex in Adele's room. Emma paints a naked Adele smoking a cigarette. Adele cooks and serves like a loyal housewife for Emma's reception, where Adele gets to meet her many friends, including an Arab actor. Emma, however, spends most of the time with Lise, an old friend who is pregnant. Adele now teaches kindergarten children and lives with Emma. Emma comes home late because she's working on a project with Lise. Adele feels lonely and probably fears betrayal, so she goes out and meets a colleague. It is literally like a frustrated housewife redescovering her freedom. The result is that Adele sleeps with the colleague. This happens again a few times. Eventually Emma sees them and gets mad at Adele. Adele tries in vain to explain and begs Emma to forgive her. Emma has no mercy and kicks her out of the house. Adele walks around crying in the middle of the night, unable to cope with the idea that she lost Emma and her life is changing forever. (Note: finally some good cinema after too much food, sex and cigarettes).
Life goes on. School ends and the children leave. Then it starts again. Adele now wears glasses and teaches older children. But she still thinks of Emma. She lives of memories. She even falls asleep on the bench where they sat the day they kissed. She cries alone at home. Finally Emma accepts an invitation to meet at a cafe. Emma tells Adele that she is now living with Lise and her three-year old child (which means that three years have elapsed). Adele can't help telling Emma the truth: how much she misses her and thinks of her. Emma confesses that sex with Lise is not that great and briefly kisses Adele, but then tells Adele that there is no love anymore, just the memories of great sex. They meet again when Emma invites Adele to the opening of a gallery show. Adele dresses up for the occasion, but Emma is busy with her audience, and the only one who would be interested in Adele is the Arab actor but Adele disappears before he can talk to her.

Mektoub My Love Canto Uno (2017), the first part of a trilogy,

The 4-hour Mektoub My Love Intermezzo (2019), the second part,

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )