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!”
One of the keys to the success of Stephen King’s The Shining is the revelation that the main character, Jack Torrance, is going mad: All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.The manuscript on which Jack has been working throughout the story contains this same phrase written again over hundreds of pages and is an excellent device to convey his lose of touch with reality.And it this very device that seems to have been plagiarized from Albert Camus’ The Plague in which Grand’s emotional imbalance is realized late in the narrative when Dr. Rieux reads over a manuscript of 50 pages documenting the same phrase again and again:One fine morning in May, a slim young horsewoman might have been seen riding a glossy sorrel mare along the avenues of the Bois, among the flowers…And while the purpose – and indeed content – is quite different, the device is not. The repeated phrase – a secret held from the reader and all other characters – is only revealed late in the story as a surprise to all. Did King acknowledge his source? Did he give credit to Camus?