He said we can choose our lives: freedom, intimacy, and identity in Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)




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Taylor and Francis



Peer reviewed



Written, co-produced and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, the French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013) generated a considerable amount of controversy before and after its release at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. While the film is an acknowledged adaptation of the 2010 French graphic novel of the same name by Julie Maroh, it is also an adaptation of the symbolic function of the colour blue within French national and European collective discourse. Blue Is the Warmest Colour probes the very nature of what it means to be free on both an individual and collective level, drawing from the symbolism of the colour blue from the French flag. By examining the adaptation process from graphic novel to film, this essay seeks to argue that Kechiche’s work is part of a wider debate in France and in Europe about what a contemporary European identity looks like, and where individual freedom fits into it. In this ‘debate’, Kechiche utilises the narrative of the film to question both historical discourses of nationality, cultural identity, and individuality, and their destabilisation in contemporary culture, thereby highlighting the limits of the ideology of ‘Europe’ through a distinct class politics.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link


Abdellatif Kechiche, adaptation, contemporary France, European identity, French cinema, French nationality, political cinema


Shachar, H. (2018) He said we can choose our lives: freedom, intimacy, and identity in Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013). Studies in European Cinema, 15 (2-3), pp. 146-161


Research Institute

Institute of English