Blue Is the Warmest Color, which clocks in at just under three hours, may be one of the most ambitious film love stories ever made. There are movies that paint first romance as a coming-of-age story; others try to capture the process and feeling of falling in love; some dissect the series of events leading to the end of a relationship. In Blue, director Abdellatif Kechiche has brilliantly captured all of the above.
The stately facade of Sir John Soane’s Museum sits on the northwest side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, a square, grassy park filled with young Londoners throwing frisbees, drinking beer, and flirting. The interior of the museum, at 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, is a strikingly different environment, a purposeful anachronism to the outside world. A unique collection of objects, Sir John Soane’s Museum is a place that reveals its namesake’s tastes and obsessions. Like the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, it was designed and arranged by its owner to outline specific aesthetic criteria.
Film, like writing, is split categorically between “fiction” and “nonfiction.” This nomenclatural divide most likely stems from a perceived obligation to the audience on the part of nonfiction — the title conveys a promise of vérité. Stories We Tell, the new documentary from Sarah Polley (Away from Her , Take This Waltz ), successfully asserts that there is no objective truth to be found anywhere in “nonfiction.” Polley isn’t the first documentarian to upend audience expectations of reality, but Stories We Tell needs no novelty to succeed; it is a beautiful film.
It takes only one Academy Award for critics to claim a resurgence of genre, and when The Artist won the 2012 Oscar for Best Picture, it was heralded as signaling the return of an interest in black-and-white silent film. Blancanieves, the latest film from Spanish director Pablo Berger (Torremolinos 73) would seem to be a continuation of that (rather small) trend — except Berger’s film was already in production at the time of The Artist’s release. Rather than owing its creation to The Artist’s success, then, Blancanieves points to a simultaneous, transoceanic interest in black-and-white silent film, outside of the usual film-school experiments.