MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Abdellatif Kechiche’s Open Letter “To those who wanted to destroy ‘Life Adele’ ” (aka Blue Is The Warmest Color)

(Translated by Google w/ minor editing, as best I can do – French original appears here)

Abdellatif Kechiche: “To those who wanted to destroy” Life Adele ‘”

Abdellatif Kechiche | Filmmaker

TRIBUNE
The film was released. In the climate of foul rumors that have tainted, but it came out. I can speak a little.

Today, the chance of life or destiny are, as everywhere in the world, I have the happiness to “represent the French Cinema”: its values, creative freedom, emancipation traditions, in addition to the scope story to the screen. In some countries, for these same reasons, because of these same values, the film may not be broadcast. In mine, France, which I am proud to exalt, through my films, this aspiration of the youth of today has the freedom to love and live in the art and modernity, “Life Adele” is the victim of a form so pernicious that it does not say his name… censorship.

Before Cannes, while editing my film, in a letter to the minister of Culture, Aurelie Filippetti, I addressed the need to initiate a debate on the state of health of French Cinema. An honest debate, frankly, with all the professionals. A debate without cheating, without deception.

I was raising issues which interest the whole profession, I mentioned a number of disorders and traumatic experiences which I had to suffer as a professional and personally during my career as film director. My letter had been read. I received a bland response.

Ms. Aurelie Filippetti was courteously coming to greet and congratulate me on the Croisette, in the same time, I had to face a series of articles in Le Monde insiders containing many slanderous allegations. All of these items targeted me at the worst possible time for me and my film. An incomprehensible situation and a real press campaign against me. A charge so violent that I can now say with certainty, and cinema professionals are well aware, that if my film had not been rewarded in Cannes, I’d now a film director destroyed, as they say, a dead man .

The attack starts muted, with the publication in Le Monde of an earlier article co-authored by the benign-appearing Aureliano Tonet and entitled “The tests against the Abdel Kechiche shows”. During its preparation, I heard a investigation that wanted to make this reporter, for to draft the article in his capacity as head of culture.

This “investigation” was supposed to be my “method of installation.” I know Aureliano Tonet. He knows I request that we write to Abdellatif not “Abdul.” He also knew that I opposed any extension of my methods of work during the act of creation, that I was overwhelmed by the closure of the film and I would not give him access to the editing room. He therefore felt free to proceed in advance, with impunity, to what was the real purpose of the article published a sort of survey of personality DEEMED Edifier readers about my character and thus prepare the minds and popularizing the term “method Kechiche” a good word that would make floras. This article was published in the paper edition of the World May 15, 2013, when opened the Cannes Film Festival. He claimed on the form a “laudatory portrait.”

(The rest after the jump)

The lies of Jean-François Lepetit

However, taking evidence from producer Jean-Francois Lepetit, who worked with me thirteen years ago on my first feature film, “La faute à Voltaire” (US – Poetical Refugee),” had a slightly bitter smell. I quote:

“I love the work Abdellatif. But I prefer a hundred times my pay up to see his films, rather than have to work with him. I work in production for thirty years. With Abdel, I never lived something so painful. [...] It was difficult at all levels. Abdel is a novel. [...] We find yourself with is a three-hour movie. When I suggested to cut, he told me: “You, you are imbued with the culture of American films.” Filming took place in May-June 1999, and time passed. [...] We miss the Berlin Film Festival in February 2000 and the Cannes in May. When the owner of the Venice Film Festival said: “We take if the film is cut,” he resolved to accept. ”

The shooting never took place in May-June 1999, but in mid-January to mid-March 2000, and this is the only reason why the film could not in any case be ready for either Berlin or Cannes. Jean-Francois Lepetit knows. If it looks good in its archives will find it.

Aureliano Tonet would know too, if he had simply done his job as a journalist. The shooting had a six-week, not a day more, and the film had to be finished up in June 2000, two and a half months after the end of filming, time quite reasonable.

Finally, for the duration of the movie, there was never a version of three hours, but not more than 2:14, 2:10 has finally returned, without the owner of the Venice Film Festival needing to “impose conditions” for the participation of its film festival, which would have been unworthy of him. As a-little-almost journalistic and false memories turned to lie and a rumor soon competed and polemics.

But what I was most taken aback by, it was a professional such as Jean-François Lepetit, more than a decade after “La faute à Voltaire” not only indulges in such fabrications was my guilty respect, but also it does so while one of my films, “The Life of Adele,” was presented for the first time in competition at Cannes, in a festival that this year the jury was chaired by Steven Spielberg.

A perverse game

Mr. Lepetit denounced in the press my so-called contempt for American cinema film director when everyone, whether French or not, knows everything there is to American cinema and when he could not ignore the importance could upholster these false words he maliciously put in my mouth. Which perverse game was he playing in this article? What was pushing so urgently to share so sudden states of souls? Explained by a memory as “accurate”, thirteen years after our collaboration in a memory as defaulting? And why put myself voluntarily in trouble, if we can say the obvious, instead of wishing me luck as others have done?

My astonishment was as good for Aureliano Tonet, high journalistic pen and connoisseur of cinema, whom I simply ask this: why pretext of misleading as we can say, we can say want to investigate my mount my films and have wanted to conduct an investigation into my “working methods”, precisely the same time of my first selection in Cannes?

For what purpose have they published without even go check facts, as erroneous information that could only harm me was such a moment for my career and the film? And why countless complaints about my crazy “method” they come back just like a weird echo and refrain in the polemics and articles that followed in the World?

I personally called Aureliano Tonet after the publication of the article in order to report these errors, asking him to be kind enough to correct them. However, not only did nothing, but a few days later, appeared on the site LeMonde.fr – which boasts a warm and having “lit the wick” – the polemical communicates to a union accusing me and my “method” subjecting technicians to terrible abuse on the set of “The Life of Adele,” a year ago: moral harassment, serious and widespread violations of the Code labor, humiliation, methods of subject “tyrant” of prosecution or camisole. And so on!

Of “anecdotes location” deformed

Le Monde, under the leadership of Aureliano Tonet, to my knowledge dedicated “pages” to coverage of the Cannes Festival, was the first to take this violent trade union official on faith – adding to embarrassing troubles – without a thorough investigation and contradictory. Process summary. We shot the toughest for less than that. For what reason imperious? Willingness to (me) hit hard?

The least we can say is that the charge for it was bloated, not based on much concrete and tangible facts. In these testimonies, so many “location anecdotes” are ginned and deformed by employees of Mr. Tonet, attempting to give substance to the accusations and violent portrait of the tyrant.

Deuce! I have dared to claim a watch or a sweater as an accessory, shoot a plate of oysters, nonetheless ask a colleague and friend to demolish a wall? Why am I not already behind bars?

I’ve never understood

As for the more ferocious charges formulated by the union, which has credited me in Le Monde for taking strong and generalizing their reach, the general direction of Pictanovo – the organization that manages the shooting Lille – then BELIED formally after having made ​​the necessary verifications. Would there be complaints or claims against me? Not that I know. I do not see the usefulness of return.

But it allows me to interrogate me. Why didn’t these “anonymous technicians” I would not mistreat ever say anything and why did they remain until the end, if the proposed conditions were unbearable to them that much? Why did they, on the contrary, renew their mission? I have never understood. There’s something illogical that should amaze.

`But who were these mysterious technicians victims of my legendary” tyranny “? Who are they and how were they, these disgruntled faceless and nameless, when we know that most of my technicians follow me for a long time and thank me rather regularly have always made sure that the set is a both a workplace and a place of conviviality or a “family spirit”, so that some of them are loving, dating, married and even had children for several shootings?

Finally, I do not understand, I hear that some people have complained about having to work five months instead of two and a half months? In this time of crisis, is not it better to work longer than expected on a shoot? This criticism is that they were a pretext for political accusation, open debate on the extension of the collective agreement of the cinema and audiovisual?

The World quickly evacuated the issue in order to ignore the context of union excesses and polemics by not referring more then in his series of articles, as “technicians of the film” surreptitiously slipping “of” to ” the “without further precision.

Against the status quo working conditions

I will not go here into the debate on the collective agreement, which would deserve alone has more than one item. But allow me to just say that, compared to some much more distressing and less well-paid professions, such as worker, cashier, stewardess or even a teacher, working conditions of a technician cinema on a set are far from being unenviable.

It is enough to be convinced by comparing salaries for illustrative purposes. A prop person in cinema makes about 1200 euros per week, more than that of a teacher after ten years in the business, which is around 2300 euros per month, or less than half. Not to mention the “rights of the unemployed,” a technician will receive for one year after 507 hours of work, then a teacher must work eleven months to benefit.

But again, we do not misunderstand the meaning of my remarks, I am not favorable to a “status quo” of working conditions for technicians cinema. When a film has a budget of several million, one comedian or producer can capture alone nearly 30%. I denounced this system it as I have always denounced it. A film must remain a harmonious balance between all financial chain actors involved in the difficult and risky adventure of gestation and its implementation in the world, producer, film director, comedians, technicians, as was the case for ” Life Adele.”

When this is not the case, then it may be a result of “injustice” or “exploitation” and I will always be part of those who denounce it. If I was not faithful to these principles, as some writings suggest, or of suspiciously moral duplicity when in my films I defend the values ​​of freedom, happiness and humanism, this raises the question of why the same core faithful technicians have been following me since my very first film.

The responsibility of the newspaper Le Monde

I return to the liability of the newspaper Le Monde and more particularly its chief culture Aureliano Tonet, who I know well and who knows me so well… a longtime collaborator with legendary magazine 3 colors, created at the time by Karmitz , founder patron of MK2 cinemas, and columns which this reporter cinephile officiated until his arrival in the world in spring 2012.

Giving voice to the accusers certainly does not make you an accuser, but he relays accusations without being critical in a series of articles that are cited repeatedly by the press, which credit him as a “serious journalist” without checking remarks and such serious charges. The consequences are too heavy, without investigating beyond the simple anonymous speech, emitting no reservations to its readers, without bothering to cross several sources, without even questioning me. So I am directly and violently challenged by this astonishing “army of shadows” technicians standing up against me, almost a year after the end of shooting, when the fires of actuality are hounds on my film, it is part of a focus that is at least curious to my view from a daily prestigious journalist.

The role of a newspaper reporter is to sympathize blindly with someone who has EXPRESSED “suffering”? Is it to manipulate public opinion? Is it not rather help to see and understand? Is it not to check “information”? In justice to his work, including against me, if I had to answer for serious acts which we accuse me. A Aureliano Tonet to explain his cynical and personal conception of his profession as a journalist.

Because again, I weigh my words: what was written and published against me would have destroyed once and for all my career of filmmaker if my film had not been a success at Cannes. I also thank those who did not spoil what could be a very nice party of French cinema.

The rumor was soon widespread, slander is faster dechainee against me, such a “great handling” as so eloquently my former agent, Nicole Cann, about the famous episode of the late Council artistic creation , chaired by Nicolas Sarkozy and led since its creation in 2009 by his friend Karmitz, and he had wanted me to play the role of “good Arabic service” that I had refused.

An ignoble controversy

The Palme d’or for “Life Adele” has not washed away this slander. I would even say the contrary. The fallout from the accusations of “tyranny” were and are still very important today and pollute the reception of the film due to dirt AGGRAVATED a new polemic, this time orchestrated by Lea Seydoux , since its thunderous’ Back mediatic “end August.

A “polemic” which, swelling in France and abroad, has even forced me, but despite me, break my silence in full promotion of film festivals. This polemic, more vile and detestable in the background that the first (but in the soil where it could easily thrive), especially wants to get dirty, and what appalled me and hurt me more deeply, wants to mess virginity of the first vision and the reception of the film by the audience.

And why is that? Because Miss Seydoux, who after having repeatedly thanked me publicly and in private and have wept in my arms at Cannes for allowing him to camp a noble role, to have sublimated and have taught both drama, has, against all odds and all personal coherence, radically changed its attitude towards me, the risk to demolish, a few weeks and days of its release, a movie already fragile.

Charges a year after shooting

Thus, after having been celebrated, glory littered the skies thanks to the Palme obtained by “La Vie Adele”, she started to drag me through the mud with lies and exaggerations with an inconsequence that amazes, and through me, all of us who have worked and put on film. And for what purpose? First we can imagine to refine this picture star “rebel” and mysterious that it intends to build a large reinforcement of covers of newspapers and magazines and thundering declarations in interviews quantity calculations.

But how these formulas and the full expressions of implications that Lea Seydoux has been using since the autumn, remarks she repeated two or three days before the film’s release, referring to the shooting as an eyesore and leaving (people) to think that I would be a kind of sadistic and evil manipulator, which would have turned completely naked two young comediennes of sex scenes ten days non-stop, that I would have forced them to fight to the blood and work 7 days and 24 hours a day for six months, that I would have humiliated, raped, and psychologically abused them that every viewer sees on screen today?

Explain how such serious accusations change 180 degrees a year after the shooting, and after so many demonstrations of admiration, “love” and recognition? I can not see for myself a flagrant inconsistency (was she telling the truth when she publicly honored me or when she loudly booed me?). And beyond, it is an especially perverse fraud and manipulation of the worst kind, in a context where she knew her slanderous words would echo, knowing the disastrous and debasing effect that they had.

Opportunistic calculations young Lea

Now, I know, in any case it is not excluded that some relatives or close friends, more customary that this type of processes and some are openly hostile to me, could suggest it to create a new polemic in their apparent interest. And as the young Lea is full of opportunism and she is the star – (self) proclaimed – of the moment and imagines she probably belongs to an untouchable caste which would make it a sort of “Princess and the Pea,” she does not feel obliged to explain. For the show, this is it. Not the movie. Or even Adele.

So just let her talk through her mother for her defense or declare again, with childish arrogance, she “said what she said.” The damage is done. Yet, no! It’s not enough. It has obligations which it must report and will come back to me. It is for her to explain in court, because (she must) account for her actions.

But let’s be clear: I in no way intended her grandfather, Jerome Seydoux, who owns much of (the family’s) dignity, and especially those who have him whisper in the ear obscene suggestions she has felt authorized to recite in my account.

I do not talk about the words and the infamous and unhealthy insinuations of Miss Seydoux. I simply point out that, once again, was at the forefront of malicious rumor in Le Monde.

Thus, what seemed a shadow of a wave of polemic from a daily American website, for the next day the first time, the “Big Browser” of (the Le Monde) website with a new article in the best taste, bold headline: “Palme horror … “! This article referred to its readers the contents of older articles – assassins – about the first polemic “on” by the Cannes section by Aureliano Tonet. And this is the same newspaper that claimed close to release, any explanation on my part had been a “desperate” attempt to save the movie from a shipwreck!

I will not be stirred by the specter of a cabal or be scared that, in the context of a process in progress, press clippings, articles polemics, have already been presented by my opponents almost as parts of a conviction against me.

I am not offended either by of the innocent picture of me published in a section committed by Aureliano Tonet in the edition of Le Monde in mid-May 2013, which I mentioned earlier: a photography background blank wall as a huge sign mark “Exit”. Random image, no doubt. I am persuaded that there is still no chance that …

A funny article

I only recall here a little fact. Some had perhaps already forgotten, a actuality chasing each other. Let’s be precise. Last year, Haneke won the Palme d’Or for his wonderful movie “Amour”. Many will remember that this, and happily.

However, after the proclamation of the palmares of Cannes, Aureliano Tonet, which I said he was a former employee of Karmitz who taught him, published in the “ideas and culture” section of the World June 7, 2012 an article entitled “Collector Palmes d’Or” .

This same year, Karmitz had four films in competition at Cannes. Recall also that Le Monde and the magazine 3 Colors organized the event in partnership “Cannes Paris” in movie theaters MK2 for the duration of the 2012 edition of the festival, demonstrating that the bridges were not cut from the new department head of Le Monde and its former “mentor” Karmitz. Rumor had it, this year it, the evil lived palmares.

However, in this clever article in Le Monde shaped “laudatory portrait” (that remembered something), Aureliano Tonet brushed forcefully details the career of producer Jean Labadie, who came to harvest “five of the seven price competition “at Cannes in 2012 for” all movies distributed and, for two of them co-produced by his company, The Covenant. ” The reporter was doing then state “links” that united Labadie president of the jury at Cannes this year for her, Nanni Moretti, by deducting they would therefore have “common interests” in the palmares 2012. Ties, always after Aureliano Tonet, would “set tongues wagging.”

Talk that … ? Nobody knew. The article then fingered the flattering pedigree producer, noting that it had treacherously will “put into perspective” the polemic which he was the object. Then conclude with an allusive fashion:

“Besides plethora of innuendo in the press or on social networks accusing him of” treason “of” scheming “or” corruption “, the boss of the Covenant has received anonymous leaflets calling the” scandal. ” This collection it, it would pass well “…

Nice “assembly”! Pretty “method”! And what a catch!

Campaigns against Moretti and Tarantino

But who did this polemic against Nanni Moretti and Jean Labadie? The answer was not long in coming. A few days later, Aureliano Tonet signed a new article on LeMonde.fr called once again with this bold commitment that characterizes the decidedly, “Internet underscore a conflict of interest for Nanni Moretti”.

Le Monde journalist, or rather ex-t ‘chief of the magazine 3 Colors, peddled in the columns of his newspaper again the worst gossip with all the talent of the pen which he knows he can. At the risk of going too far in a little pressure and lies. Thus he argued, for example, to substantiate its strong “investigation”, Quentin Tarantino, president of the Cannes jury in 2004, would have been, too, as it were corrupt, as it would, he wrote, “offered the Palme d’Or was “Fahrenheit 9/11″ by Michael Moore. ”

Thierry Fremaux, the festival organizer, in addition to these slanderous insinuations emanating from “cultural” pages of the World, was released from the reserve to denounce in these terms the “culture of suspicion”:

“Without investigation and by doing echo” social networks “, Le Monde says implies the existence of a conflict of interest Moretti / palmares. They forget that Moretti has only one vote out of nine, it is wrong to believe that knowing the corrupt, as would be the jury. ”

Thierry Fremaux had even added to the journalist’s attention:

“Compounding his case, Aureliano Tonet denounced Tarantino giving in 2004 Palme Michael Moore produced by him as by Harvey Weinstein. In 2004, Michael Moore had five votes wins four [...] Tarantino did not vote Moore. ”

Facts not so old that still raise many questions. What in any case, as write this reporter, “put into perspective” the polemics aimed me today. In turn, this year, to be the target of a relentless campaign of denigration that comes from the same, people whose “methods” resemble nothing so much, and falling, as if by chance, hath appointed . I said, I repeat: there is no chance.

Attack my values

Those who know me, and know my films and my humanist values, I know that attack on these values ​​is to attack me in deeper. And that beyond the fact of damage was obviously my film, my career, in my honor and my dignity is also seek to hurt me and put me down. Those who attack me know me very well, no doubt.

Indirectly, it is also the content and scope of “The Life of Adele” that are referred, a film that was intended as a hymn today’s youth and freedom. As in France, or officially censorship is no longer valid since we handed the scissors to comic accessories cinema history, and through the many channels are to prevent a speech, a voice or a work of be heard.

The words on which the film is ending “Jabber” , the young Karmitz then Maoist engaged in the cause of the workers came back to me recently in memory.

I myself am a worker’s son. I was laborer. Maybe I am still in my we can say to make films. I can not in any case remain indifferent, if not to their violent coloring, at least in what they denounced. I do not believe that this beautiful film took a ride, even if the world, ideas and people have changed little since the 70s. These were the words put into the mouth of workers in the textile, in the form of a statement at the end after a struggle for freedom and equality, which was the purpose of the film. They retorted, blow for blow, was the one who had enslaved:

“You and your press, you outcry, calling the lawfulness [...] Our legality, to us, it is mob justice and that it, it is a catch to stop. [...] The most important thing is what has changed in our heads, we had the right to speak, the right of action, the rights you, bosses, you book to enslave us. ”

I do not remember everything. The subject may seem dated. It is only in appearance. Is that so many things and people have changed? I’m not sure, even if the world and the French company has of course evolved a lot. But I think one thing is sure, if something has changed, yes, the son of workers, as the workers have won a turn, too, thanks to a fight that never ended, the right has citizenship. The right to speak and act.

Also I do not see why I should be silent on these key themes or would cease to please a few of making films that speak to the company of his youth, love, its beauty and our freedoms.

Reflects a growing unease

In this system the French film that works so hard and whose malfunction has some benefit, public money is at stake freedom to make films and the freedom to create are also concerned. The case of very far exceeded my case. I also see in the polemic that I am now under the epiphenomenon of greater evils that threaten the freedom to create and even the survival of the cultural and economic model of the French cinema.

It is merely a reflection of many of a growing malaise, known only to professionals and specialists, and a form of perversion in a system that calls for urgent global reflection, accompanied with a strong political will to change.

The letter I addressed you in 2012, Ms. Aurelie Filippetti, already wearing these questions. You did not then taken seriously. But in the meantime, many things have changed, that earned us perhaps more precise answers and awake, as you, the relevant reflections.

Reflections which I hope will be followed by real debates within the profession and political actions to defend and allow the influence of our cinema, not just other screens of smoke or polemics manipulated by calculations ‘private interests has very short term.

9 Responses to “Abdellatif Kechiche’s Open Letter “To those who wanted to destroy ‘Life Adele’ ” (aka Blue Is The Warmest Color)”

  1. Ira Parks says:

    LEXG SAYS…

    You gonna see WARMEST COLOR, Sanj?

  2. Ira Parks says:

    SANJ SAYS…

    no. no coffee or peppers at snack bar. but you can get a coffee at Arclight.

  3. Ira Parks says:

    LEXG SAYS…

    Not sure I can roll with the solo coffee experience, Sanj.

  4. Ira Parks says:

    SANJ SAYS…

    do it like you’re deniro in heat. maybe you’ll meet amy brenneman.

  5. Ira Parks says:

    LEXG SAYS…

    In the beginning, Sanj would set up my jokes. Now I set up his. MYSTIFYING AND AWESOME.

  6. Ira Parks says:

    ABDELLATIF KECHICHE SAYS…

    Sanj iz ze writeur of qualitee in zis blog.

    VIVE LE SANJ.

  7. berg says:

    oui oui

  8. Bitplayer says:

    Isn’t this movie like softcore porn with slightly better acting? The writer of the source material seems to lean in that direction. He should just shut up and get his awards.

  9. Patricia says:

    @Bitplayer

    This movie is 179 minutes. It contains around 10 minutes of sex scenes (four scenes in total) and 169 minutes of non sex scenes (countless scenes).

    It has GREAT acting in a naturalistic manner, lovely cinematography and the content is better than the source material.

    It’s a coming of age story that includes first love, first heartbreak, social class differences and passion as a driving force in life, both at a personal and a professional level.

Leave a Reply

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I was fortunate to be in the two big film epics of the last part of the 20th century: Godfather and “Lonesome Dove” on television, which was my favorite part. That’s my “Hamlet.” The English have Shakespeare; the French, Molière. In Argentina, they have Borges, but the western is ours. I like that.”
~ Robert Duvall

“He’s not one of my heroes. He doesn’t touch me or inspire me. There are so many people who inspire me, so many people who touch my heart. It doesn’t matter if he’s not a hero of mine. It doesn’t matter if I don’t tell the whole world how honoured I am to share a prize with a man who made somebody play with words over the years. He’s a hero in cinema historically, but he’s not a personal hero of mine. Jean-Luc Godard did this press release and he mentioned he would never go and see Mommy in theatres because he already knew what Mommy was about: another ‘TV movie’ and that nowadays everything is predictable. He’s this old grinchy man. He’s the grinch from Switzerland in the mountain. Deaf, blind, smoking, literally. Basically being provocative about everything.”
~ Xavier Dolan On Jean-Luc Godard