There were no jewel heists on the last day of the Cannes film festival, but there was gold being given out Sunday in the form of the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or. The jury decided the award would go to Abdellatif Kechiche's three-hour lesbian love epic Blue is the Warmest Color. The jury, led by President Steven Spielberg and filled out by bold-faced names like Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, and Christoph Waltz, honored Blue, along with Kechiche and his two lead actresses, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. Blue (also known by its french title, La Vie D’Adèle Chapitres 1 et 2) was Kechiche's first film submitted to the festival.
There was no obvious choice leading into Sunday's award ceremony. In fact, many predictors expected the award to go to the Coen brothers' new flick, Inside Llewyn Davis, which received the runner-up Grand Prize. (You can see a full list of all of the award winners here.)
So what's the deal with Blue? What makes it so d'Or-y, you're probably asking. Blue is a 179-minute romantic coming-of-age epic about a lesbian relationship, and it features a relentless ten minute sex scene. Adèle Exarchopoulos plays the main character, also named Adèle, who is struggling with her sexual identity. Léa Seydoux plays the slightly older art school student Adèle shares a profound connection with. The two have received near universal praise for their work in the movie. Vulture's Jada Yaun praised Blue for "how much weight it gives to the messy reality of relationships and sexual identity." Variety's Scott Foundas called it "a masterpiece of first love, sexual awakening, family, food, art...in a word, life." Tim Grierson said Blue "hurts like real life, yet leaves you enraptured by its power," in his review for Paste. The New York Observer's Stephen Garrett said the leads were "revelatory" and "sensuous" in his review. It will
Michael Hanke won the award last year for his eventual Oscar contender, Amour. It ended up being one of the most universally beloved movies of the year despite its miserable, depressing content. Past winners like 2006's The Wind That Shakes The Barley, 2007's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and 2010's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall Past Lives are all available on Netflix Instant, if you need a break from Arrested Development.