[See previous post: "Blue Is the Warmest Color Oscar Chances?"] Abdellatif Kechiche's Blue Is the Warmest Color, starring Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, will be released in the United States via IFC Films' Sundance Selects. As yet no date has been set, but it'll quite possibly be some time during awards season in the fall. Distributed by IFC Films, Kechiche's César-winning The Secret of the Grain took in a paltry $86,356 following its December 2008 North American release.
Last year, IFC Films also nabbed the rights to another Cannes Film Festival entry, Walter Salles' On the Road. Two things happened when Salles' movie adaptation of Jack Kerouac's novel hit North American shores: the film lost about 20 minutes of its running time and, despite its prestigious subject matter / source novel and stellar cast (Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Amy Adams), On the Road was bypassed throughout awards season and failed to be shortlisted for a single Academy Award.
By the way, Sundance Selects has also acquired the North American rights to Cannes Film Festival's Jury Prize winner Like Father, Like Son. Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda (After Life, Nobody Knows), the film chronicles the dismay of two different sets of parents who discover that their 6-year-old sons were switched at birth. In the words of the Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan, Kore-eda "is not only a master at working with children, he is an innately empathetic director with an exquisitely natural style, and this film manages to be sweet and gentle while asking pointed questions about the nature of family."
Blue Is the Warmest Color release date in France
As La Vie d'Adèle, Blue Is the Warmest Color opens in France on October 9. As indicated in the previous post, the film's English-language title better reflects the French title of the graphic novel on which the movie is based.
Now, stop and consider the fact that a graphic novel, when transferred to the big screen, can result in something other than The Dark Knight Rises, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers, or Thor: The Dark World. I'm not saying those movies are (or will be) necessarily bad; just that graphic novels offer mostly untapped possibilities that reach way beyond the costumed-superhero genre.
Daring filmmaking vs. the lowest common denominator
A bit of reality check: While the Cannes Film Festival awards ceremony was taking place, featuring — quite literally — the "likes" of jury members Steven Spielberg, Cristian Mungiu, Ang Lee, Naomi Kawase, Nicole Kidman, Lynne Ramsay, Vidya Balan, and Daniel Auteuil, moviegoers around the world were flocking to see product universes away from Blue Is the Warmest Color, Like Father, Like Son — or any of this year's Cannes winners.
Justin Lin's testosterone-packed, neuron-deficient Fast & Furious 6, featuring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne Johnson, has raked up $275.52 million at the worldwide box office after only a handful of days in most territories. The number two movie at the North American box office this Memorial Day weekend was none other than Todd Phillips' braindead-on-arrival The Hangover Part III, featuring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha, and which grossed an estimated $54.2 million.
All Cannes Film Festival 2013 winners combined will be lucky — immeasurably lucky — if they manage to earn during their entire worldwide run half of what Fast & Furious 6 earned during its first week.
Moral of the story: If movies were made only to please the world's discerning (joke) moviegoers, adult — or "arthouse" — filmmaking would be all but dead. However imperfect, film festivals such as the one in Cannes serve to keep alive that increasingly marginalized segment of the film industry.
And here's looking forward to next year's batch of Cannes Film Festival entries.
Léa Seydoux as the blue-haired Emma in the Blue Is the Warmest Color poster: Wild Bunch