After reading Janet’s blog post yesterday about the female gaze in Blue is the Warmest Color, I wrote down some of my ideas on the same topic.I really like what she wrote, and had been thinking about some of the same things myself.
After my second viewing of the movie I’ve been thinking a lot about how female pleasure and sexuality are represented, and what it means in the context of the film’s male director. In the “art party” scene, one of Emma’s artist friends talks about how male painters use the subject of female nudes and that female pleasure is often the subject of paintings by men. The same character also expresses his desire to be able to experience sex as a woman, to see what it would be like. Maybe Kechiche is trying to do just that with Blue.
It is interesting to me that a male director is exploring the female sexual experience. Not that male directors haven’t been interested in this idea before, it’s just that in the movies I have seen, sex is usually depicted between a man and a woman, with the woman moving and reacting in a way that is pleasing to the male gaze (tossing her hair, arching her back, making that serious sexy face that I doubt anyone actually makes in real life). The woman’s pleasure doesn’t really seem to be part of the story. In Blue the two young women seem to take a lot of pleasure in each others’ bodies, and look like they are actually exploring their own and their partner’s desires. That’s why it looks so real to me– they look like they are exploring and feeling rather than trying to just look sexy. I am a heterosexual woman so I cannot speak to the accuracy of the lesbian sex in the movie, but I feel like I am seeing two women who enjoy sex exploring their desires, and that is something that is absent from most movies I have seen.
If I didn’t know the gender of the director, would it make a difference in my viewing and interpretation? I don’t know. I think it is a good question to ask .
Blue is the Warmest Color is playing one more night at Images Cinema– tonight! At 4:30 and 7:30 pm.