“Blue Is the Warmest Colour” tells the story of Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who falls for Emma (Léa Seydoux), and the film follows their relationship from Adèle’s time in high school into adulthood. The film blew away the competition at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the coveted Palme d’Or. One of the film’s most important scenes depicts the couple having sex, and it’s 10 minutes long.
That’s a long sex scene for a movie, and when Seydoux and Exarchopoulos sat down with Marlow Stern at the Telluride Film Festival, they talked about how embarrassing it was to shoot. They spent 10 days filming the scene, which appears to show unsimulated sex — it was simulated, but it’s nonetheless realistic. One of the reasons is the demands director Abdellatif Kechiche placed on his actors. The actors said that their lack of experience in cinema, combined with the power that directors have in France, led to a very uncomfortable shoot.
Both actors said they’d never work with Kechiche again, which was entirely due to the horrible time they had making the movie. Seydoux described filming the sex scene as humiliating, and Exarchopoulos said, “Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful — you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act” (via The Daily Beast).