'Graphic' lesbian sex scenes stun Cannes critics

Ben Arnold
Yahoo UK Movies News

A film depicting graphic lesbian sex is the frontrunner to take the Palme d'Or, the highest honour at the Cannes Film Festival.

'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' is said to be the critics' favourite film of the festival so far, receiving rave reviews for its portrayal of a love affair between two young women, played by Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, and based on a graphic novel by Julie Maroh, the three-hour film will also likely court controversy, as it contains, according to The Guardian, 'the lengthiest, most intimate and most graphic lesbian sex scenes in mainstream cinema history'.

Speaking about the sex scenes in the film, Kechiche said: “We shot the scenes as if they were paintings. We spent a lot of time lighting them so that they are really beautiful.”

[Ryan Gosling film booed at Cannes]

The Hollywood Reporter says that the main characters, students Adele and Emma, 'forge a sexual bond that Kechiche captures in ways few directors have done before him, allowing their lovemaking to play out in extended takes that definitely cross the barrier between performance and the real deal'.

Meanwhile, Variety has called it 'a searingly intimate character study marked by the most explosively graphic lesbian sex scenes in recent memory'.

Kechiche's film precedes Lars Von Trier's forthcoming 'Nymphomaniac', which is also likely to cause controversy for its sexual content.

Von Trier will release an unedited version of the film which contains unsimulated sex, and stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who recounts the stories of her sexual encounters to a man who saves her after she has been beaten up.

It also stars Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Stellan Skarsgard, Uma Thurman and Willem Dafoe.

However, in a pioneering move, while it might seem to be the film's stars performing the explicit acts on screen, it is not the actual actors having the actual sex – but body doubles.

“We shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles who really did have sex and in post we will digitally combine the two,” said the film's producer Louise Vesth.

“So above the waist it will be the star and the below the waist it will be the doubles.”

The two films were set to have gone head-to-head in Cannes, but Von Trier's film was not ready in time to enter the competition.

It will instead premiere in Copenhagen on Christmas Day. There is no UK release date as yet.