Ambitious indie art or high class pornography for elitists?
Blue is the Warmest Colour Blu-ray ReviewBlue is the Warmest Colour has won numerous awards – not least at Cannes – but, unsurprisingly, failed to capture the hearts of either audiences and critics in North America.
More surprisingly the film failed to impress the LGBT community, who cited the heterosexual view of homosexuals as being impossible to ignore. There’s merit to all of the arguments, both for and against the feature. Certainly it boasts a startling realism in terms of coming-of-age drama – you follow two young women who are drawn to one another, and whose relationship is driven by both sex and love, and marred by expectations, jealousy, and the inevitable changes that come with time. Impressive portraits of social classes and acceptability leave the film easy to relate to, and even more powerful is the relationship core itself. The two lead performances are generally excellent, and oftentimes feel palpably real, particularly in that you seldom feel complete sympathy for one or the other character.The sex scenes, however, both cement the union, and threaten to derail it – possibly the most explicit lesbian sex scenes ever to feature in a non-adult release – somewhat distract, and detract, away from the more interesting relationship narrative beneath. Still, despite the criticisms rightly and wrongly levelled at the film, there is certainly something here of artistic worth. And, beneath it, something which purely captures the pleasure and pain of changing feelings, maturing, loving and lost love. That’s a rare thing, and, even if it is not quite the resoundingly perfect masterpiece that everybody appears to be raving about, it still has a unique presence and potency which makes it remarkable, memorable and definitely worthy your time. Recommended.
What is Blue is the Warmest Colour Blu-ray Picture QualityBlue is the Warmest Colour arrives on UK Region B-locked Blu-ray courtesy of Artificial Eye, who appear to have sourced their own 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition transfer of the film rather than used the same highly regarded one as Criterion. Whilst it is impossible to comment on any differences, this video presentation, framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen, is largely stunning, with only a few issues that pepper what is an otherwise near-perfect rendition of the feature.
It seems unreasonable to award this anything less than a demo rating, even if it doesn’t quite earn a perfect 10 score.
Detail is excellent – this is a film driven by close-ups, and the two lead characters are rendered with absolute clarity in almost all of their shots, showcasing every line, every port, every eyelash and wisp of stray hair; it’s stunning observation and it offers a fantastically-rendered core for the film, which also benefits from some welcome wider shots, the cinematography for which captures some beautiful, vibrant scenery.
There are no signs of excess DNR application, nor of unruly edge enhancement and, indeed, the only fractionally distracting element was a smidge of banding that appears in some of the darker shots – oddly, the nightclub sequences seem immune, but a couple of low-level-lit scenes do not quite survive perfectly intact: even one of the early, more graphic scenes does not render the bodies completely naturally. Still, it’s a comparatively minor criticism – we’re talking about scant seconds over a film that is almost three hours long.
What is Blue is the Warmest Colour Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying audio comes in two distinct flavours – French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French LPCM 2.0, with forced English subtitles running throughout. With a very natural and seldom augmented soundtrack, this is an often solely dialogue-driven affair – and the words, whispered or shouted, come across with crystal clarity throughout, dominating the frontal array from start to finish.
Natural and precise, the audio accompaniment is no less impressive.
There are several sparks of crowd – normally school classroom – ambience which will flood into your living room, feeling positively overwhelming by comparison, and speaking to the sheer potency and authenticity of the highly organic mix; and, similarly, the most engaging music elements are purely diagetic, with club music and festival beats taking over key sequences and suitably commandeering your living room too. LFE input is largely reserved for these more engaging flourishes, but that only feels natural too, and, overall, whilst not quite demo material, this is a very good audio presentation indeed.
Blue is the Warmest Colour Blu-ray ExtrasUnlike its bare-bones US counterpart – unusual for a Criterion release – Artificial Eye’s UK Blu-ray package comes complete with two compelling nine-minute Interviews – with newcomer actress Adele Exarchopoulos and with the Director – as well as three Deleted Scenes, totalling a further nine minutes of footage as well. There’s also the film’s original trailer.
Is Blue is the Warmest Colour Blu-ray Worth BuyingAlthough you might wonder whether this film would have received quite so much universal acclaim had it been about two men – or two heterosexuals – in a relationship, there’s much to embrace in the warmth of this intimate relationship study; a great deal of honesty and two bravely authentic core relationships offer unflinching foundation for the film, to help it survive some riskily excessive sex scenes and occasionally distractingly pretentious dialogue.
Whilst it’s impossible to comment on the video and audio in comparison to the Criterion release, Artificial Eye have certainly won on the extras front.
This Region B-locked UK Blu-ray may not have exactly the same video and audio as the Region A-locked US Criterion release, but they are still undeniably excellent, and the extras package is certainly considerably more impressive – in that we actually have some. Region-restricted fans should consider this a welcome alternative, and maybe even a superior release.
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