Events unfolded this week in Baltimore almost exactly as they were played out in Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing. A black man was killed in custody. And black people rioted. When will there ever be any real change? This doesn’t have to be a rhetorical question. Democracy is supposed to address issues of social justice. New leaders need to be elected – what about a new political party? – laws passed, and change should follow.
While Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color received controversial press for its stark portrayal of sexuality, the film’s only real problem is in its self-indulgence. Choked with scenes of endless dancing, staring into space and, yes, sex, the film needs an editor; at over an hour too long, the film’s essential moments and images are lost in the ego of the author. Of course Kechiche is not alone in his onanism; many an excellent director has fallen victim to believing that everything shot is sacred, including Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Redux, Lars von Trier’s Nymphomanic, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Michael Cimino’s infamous Heaven’s Gate. This is to say nothing of the glut of Hollywood monstrosities such as Titanic, The Lord of the Rings and all of the superheroes piled atop each other.It’s the simpler things that ring true, such as a director listening to his inner voice: “Cut!”