Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Enough with the Open Letters! French Films are Exploitive. We Get It.

Lea Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
So if you religiously check every morning like I do, you'll see that the director of the sleeper hit Blue is the Warmest Color (2013), Abdellatif Kechiche has penned an open letter to its star, France's new 'it' girl Lea Seydoux, who called the filming of said film an experience that was both trapping and disrespectful in terms of dealing with its racy sex scenes. Guess what folks, without racy sex scenes there would be no French cinema to speak of let's just be honest here. Especially now-a-days with directors like Christophe Honore and Catherine Brellait leading the charge of how-much-gratuitious-nudity can we cram into a 2 hour film and the answer is...a lot. But you know what? With such content comes responsibility, and I'm going to side with Seydoux here. To be fully nude surrounded by grips, electricians, script supervisors and who else is no fun, and to have to do it take after take, can be exhausting, not like I would know, but I'm sure at this point shooting porn is a more wholesome experience than going full on French.
Kechiche basically blamed her for trying to destroy the very same film she helped make into a success and also not to mention helped to win the Palme D'Or. He writes, "Miss Seydoux, who after having repeatedly thanking me publicly and privately and having wept in my arms at Cannes for allowing her to take on this noble role … has, against all odds and all personal coherence, radically changed her attitude towards me." 
In his letter Kechiche calls Seydoux 'spoiled and opportunistic' um, exaggerate much?
So why don't we just calm the fuck down and take a look at the mistakes we might have made as directors. Actors are by definition fragile individuals who look to directors not only for guidance but for comfort, and not exploitation, unless of course you like that sort of thing. And now, I'm going to name a perfect example of someone who refuses to follow these guidelines and has the balls to blame his actors for not 'being comfortable'. 

20 year old Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris (1972)
One, Bernardo Bertolucci has been accused of this very thing on several occasions. The first and most infamous case I can remember is when Maria Schneider, Marlon Brando's co-star in the then X-Rated Last Tango In Paris (1972) famously said that in the scene where Brando's character sodomizes her with butter lubricant (there's honestly no wholesome way for me to describe this folks, sorry) that she felt that not only was she being raped by Brando, but by Bertolucci himself who just let it happen without asking her not even once if she was comfortable, if she wanted to stop and catch her breath, if it was all too much, you know, everything we as girls would like to be asked in scenarios like that...even if it's simulated. It's just polite.
This misogynistic behavior on Bertolucci's part continued up until The Dreamers was released in 2004 and sex-pot Eva Green basically said the exact same things. It's a film I've seen on a few occasions and I can tell you that yeah, the sex is pretty gratuitous, and no one had to work harder at it (no pun intended) than Eva Green, she had the most nude scenes, the most sex scenes, the most bodily fluid involving scenes as gross as that sounds, and she said that sometimes even though she's a seasoned professional and full fledged Frenchie, it was hard, and she felt that she received no guidance or comfort from her director who basically sat behind the camera and watched like some perv with a box of donuts and a pair of night-vision goggles. 
Eva Green in one of her most erotic scenes in The Dreamers (2004)
 I believe that Bertolucci is someone who makes gratuitously sexual films for his own personal pleasure, kind of like the James Spader character in Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989) so he can whack off to them later, he just happens to be really good at it and call it art, and let's face it a lot of French directors seems to go down that road.
So in conclusion; Kechiche - You should be thankful that Lea Seydoux who is huge not only in France but currently in America even participated in that film, and without her quite honestly I don't think the Palme D'or was within your reach. Enough with the open letters, there's this cool devise called the telephone, pick it up after a bottle of Bordeaux and go nuts. But also realize you are not blameless here brother. Here's a link to his open letter: 'Blue is the Warmest Color' Filmmaker Pens Enraged Open Letter; Slams 'Spoiled,' 'Opportunistic' Star Lea Seydoux

Trailers below: 

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