Filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche has come under fire once again for his prolonged use of sexually explicit scenes in his films.
The director’s latest film, titled Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo, recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
At the 2013 festival, Kechiche’s film Blue Is The Warmest Colour won the Palme d’Or. This year, however, members of the audience walked out of his latest film, saying it was nothing but ‘endless vapid scenes of flirting and dancing in bars’, the ‘worst film in competition by miles’, ‘male gaze garbage’, and ‘leery trash’.
One person even compared it to Louis CK’s standup:
I’ve witnessed the worst film in competition by miles, and its name is MEKTOUB. Like Louis CK’s leaked standup, Kechiche takes every valid complaint lobbed at BitWC and quadruples down: contemptible, male gazing garbage. Here’s the skeleton crew that didn’t walk out. #Cannes2019 pic.twitter.com/jQ43BwxLQ7
— Stephen Miller (@sdavidmiller) May 23, 2019
Intermezzo is the sequel to Kechiche’s 2017 film Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, both of which are based on the novel La Blessure, la vraie by François Bégaudeau.
At almost four hours long, you’d be forgiven its length was the reason most people eventually walked out. However, it seems it wasn’t the length but the content of the film the audience had a problem with – in particular, a scene in a bathroom featuring un-simulated oral sex between lead character Ophélie and a man, which lasted for 10-15 minutes.
David Ehrlich, senior film critic for IndieWire, called the film a ‘cinematic lap dance of a sequel’ which ‘devotes 60% of its runtime to extreme close-ups of female derrieres’.
MEKTOUB MY LOVE: INTERMEZZO: the director of Blue Is the Warmest Color made a 4-hour movie about butts. it's the same length as Lawrence of Arabia, and literally 60% of the movie is close-ups of butts. i had a mild psychotic break at one point
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) May 23, 2019
Ehrlich added ‘the male gaze was practically the only lens Kerchiche used’, and the only hope for the filmmaker to distribute his work would be ‘to broker a deal directly with Pornhub’.
Watch the trailer below:
I just walked out of Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo. The most lacivicious leery trash I’ve seen. Eurgh! Talk about objectification and voyeurism.
— Patricia Hetherington (@phetheringtonnz) May 23, 2019
Speaking to critics at the festival, Kerchiche said, via Yahoo:
The most important thing for me – and this is what I want to say right away – was to celebrate life, love, desire, breath, music, the body. I wanted to try a cinematographic experience that would be as free as possible.
I’ve tried to show what really resonates within me to see bodies, tummies, the buttocks. What I have tried to do is to describe things through movement. I may appear facile. But they are quite magical.
Seemingly confusing ‘metaphysical’ with just ‘physical’, the French director added:
I wanted to film the magic of the body. It’s the metaphysical aspect of the body that I have portrayed.
It’s not the first time Kerchiche has experienced backlash for his portrayal of sex on-screen. Léa Seydoux, who starred in Blue Is The Warmest Colour, said she ‘felt like a prostitute’ during filming, and criticised his methods. After the film’s release, the director was accused of sexual assault by an unnamed actor, The Guardian reports.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.