When French coming-of-age story Blue is the Warmest Colour was released in 2013, it generated headlines for a multitude of reasons — good and bad. The three-hour-long film that featured a now infamous seven-minute lesbian sex scene was a triumph for artistic cinema and queer storytelling, with director Abdellatif Kechiche and the two leading ladies Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux taking home the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Now, that statuette is going up for auction to fund Kechiche's next project.
A statement has been released by Kechiche's camp, saying that the award will be auctioned off to raise funds for the director's latest venture. The two-part feature film, titled Mektoub, My Love, stalled production last year after its financing was abruptly blocked. The project has since been in limbo, and to raise the funds Kechiche will be selling his Palme d'Or to the highest bidder, as well as the collection of oil paintings used in the filming of Blue is the Warmest Colour. The statement reads:
In order to raise the necessary funds for the completion of post-production without further delays, the French production and distribution company Quat'Sous is auctioning film memorabilia related to Kechiche's work.
Items to be offered range from the Palme d'Or (Cannes Film Festival 2013) to the oil paintings that played a central role in Blue Is the Warmest Color.
It's unclear how much Kechiche expects the Palme d'Or to fetch at auction, but it's likely to be a hefty sum if he plans to kick-start production through the sale. It's also unclear if Exarchopoulos and Seydoux — who effectively own two thirds of the trophy — have been notified of the director's intentions.
Given the way Kechiche feels about the movie since its controversial release, it's not surprising that he would view it as only a means to make cash. In 2013, following claims of his abusive behavior on set, the director told French magazine Télérama:
"I think this film should not go out; it was too sullied. ... I felt a rejection of me; I live like a curse."
The film was dogged with dissension upon its release, with both Exarchopoulos and Seydoux saying at the time that they would never work with Kechiche again.
The trio attended the 2013 #Cannes Film Festival together and took home the prestigious Palme d'Or, an award usually bestowed upon a single director. The festival panel — which was headed #StevenSpielberg and included Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee and Christoph Waltz — decided to split the award between its two stars and the director, something that has never been done before or since. All agreed the powerhouse performance of the two ladies was worthy of the accolade.
Do you think it's right for directors and actors to sell their awards? Let us know in the comments below.