In one corner, the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, who takes on the less popular notion that there was something predatory in the camera work of Blue is the Warmest Color. The director was a little too obsessed with the 19 year-old beauty who pleasures herself, then explodes sexually with another woman. The film is three hours long, however, and the sex, though it is the most talked about part of the film, is only a small portion of it (intense, explicit, graphic, etc). Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere believed that this opinion might have given the jury pause rewarding this film, which blew through the festival like a hurricane, and probably the only one called a “masterpiece” by critics. Many even believed that Steven Spielberg (who directed the Color Purple, for goddsakes) would not have the maturity or sensibility to allow the Palme d’or to be given to this film. Boy, were they wrong.
In this scene, as throughout, Mr. Kechiche and his hand-held camera keep close tabs on Adèle. This intimacy is clearly meant to draw you into her consciousness. Yet, as the camera hovers over her open mouth and splayed body, even while she sleeps with her derrière prettily framed, the movie feels far more about Mr. Kechiche’s desires than anything else.