London Film Festival 2013 – Day 9

Blue is the warmest color

After yesterday’s Don Jon, the sex continues. And most explicitly with Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is The Warmest Colour – the Palme d’Or winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and a Proustian tale of a schoolgirl exploring her sexuality to the bitterest depths. With wonderful performances from Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, it’s two chapters in the life of Adèle – as she gives up on boys to embark on a long-term relationship with blue-haired art student and breaking artist Emma. While laying itself open to (not exactly unfounded) criticisms of exploitation, it’s a very real look inside a relationship and the human faults that aren’t up to love.

Also on the hunt for sex is Sebastián Lelio’s Gloria – a middle-aged divorcee who attends discos looking for love. Winner of a Silver Bear at this year’s Berlinale, it’s a fantastic performance from Paulina Garcia as the mother and ex-wife, always on the margins of other people’s stories but present in every frame of the film, who in a shamelessly feelgood ending realises her own worth and casts herself in the starring role.

John Krokidas’ long-awaited Allen Ginsberg biopic Kill Your Darlings is anything but a stale portrait of a poet. Focusing on the Beat movement’s earliest days of poverty, rule-breaking and manifestos, it’s high-octane poetry as Ginsberg, Burroughs and Kerouac are all inspired by the movement’s muse and dark heart, Lucien Carr. Albeit bespectacled and graduated to Columbia University, it’s a great performance from Daniel Radcliffe that sloughs his Harry Potter baggage (if not image). And while its circular thematics are overworked and Jennifer Jason-Leigh is reduced to an awkward plot device, there are some beautiful scenes in this juggernaut of a movie.

Adam Wimpenny’s chilling ghost story Blackwood, on the other hand, while mustering a brilliant cast of Ed Stoppard, Russell Tovey and Greg Wise, can’t live up to expectations in this story of a fragile family moving to an old house in the country to rest and repair. It’s full of bumps and suspicious locals, but stakes everything on its one new conceit.

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