I was trying to decide if "hypocritical" would have been a better word to use, but I really don't think so. I'm not sure I can pinpoint the reason why, but "schizophrenic" just seems to fit better in this circumstance. I don't think it's a matter of hypocrisy, at least not consciously so.
Some prefatory remarks...
I am not a prude when it comes to sexual matters, and I'm certainly no santo innocente. Ask anyone who knows me... I've always been a fan of French films as well. I like their vibe, their pace, and the fact that they rely on thoughtful scripts, story-lines, and carefully drawn-out characters rather than special effects and gimmicks. In addition, there was this observation I made several years ago in a post I wrote about the film Au Revoir les Infants.
With respect to French films, my wife Anne might wryly add that I'm not likely to be offended by gratuitous skin either. OK. I might be tempted to just laugh, nod, and shrug that off, but you know what? There is something that is simultaneously healthier yet less prurient in the way that the French handle the topic of sex in their films, especially in comparison with the way it's handled in the Anglo world. The tongues spoken by Mediterranean peoples aren't called "romance languages" for nothing. I don't know if "sophisticated" is the right word to use when describing the French treatment of it, but I do know that "puerile" and "sophomoric" are entirely proper words to describe how sex is handled in English-speaking media, particularly in British film and television.Shifting gears for a moment, I'll also say by way of introduction that as far as the sexual abuse crisis in the Church is concerned, I don't find it very helpful when people attempt to defend the Church by pointing out that in terms of numbers, the incidence rate of pedophilia committed by Catholic priests is similar to or actually better than that which can be found among certain secular professions that deal with children. This is neither a valid defense nor an excuse. Whether it's true or not, it's irrelevant. We make some pretty significant truth claims for ourselves, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard. At least we ought to. Others outside of our own circle certainly do.
Which brings me to the highly acclaimed French film Blue is the Warmest Color. I have not seen it, but I'll point out that it has won a number of awards in 2013, including the prestigious Palm d 'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Marnier Fellowship Award at the New York Film Festival, the Best International Independent Film at the British Independent Film Awards, Best Film at the 26th European Film Awards, and Best International Film at the 29th Independent Spirit Awards.
Director Abdellatif Kechiche's film runs about three hours, and is a coming of age film that is typical of the French, but somewhat novel and edgy in that the sexual awakening in question has a lesbian theme. So far, pretty standard fare for what you might find at Cannes... What is particularly noted and commented upon is the explicit nature of the sex scenes, including a graphic 10-minute sequence in which the actresses apparently wore prosthetics over their genitals. Speaking later about the grueling sessions required to shoot that lengthy sequence, actress Léa Sedoux said, “Of course it was kind of humiliating sometimes, I was feeling like a prostitute. Of course, he (Kechiche) uses that sometimes. He was using three cameras, and when you have to fake your orgasm for six hours... I can't say that it was nothing. But for me it is more difficult to show my feelings than my body.”
Hints of abusive and controlling behavior on the part of the director is one thing, but the main point is this...Actress Léa Seydoux was 27 years old when the film was shot, and that's about how old her character was supposed to be. Actess Adèle Exarchopoulos was 19 when the film was shot.... but her character in the film was supposed to be only 15 years old.
As I said, I'm not a prude. I don't have a problem with adults watching films with strongly sexual themes or with a love story that revolves around a lesbian relationship. I do, however, believe in the protection of children, and I'd urge those who claim to feel the same way to be consistent about it.
Why is it that the press in both Europe and the USA, which has justifiably beat the Catholic Church about the head and shoulders for its scandal involving pedophilia, giving artistic acclaim to a film that is basically celebrating pedophilia, or at best ephebophilia (which also happens to be what most of those priestly abuse cases involved)?
Again, I don't think "hypocritical" is quite the right word, although others may disagree with me on that. To me, it appears to be a sort of schizophrenia in our post-modern culture, especially when it comes to the arts. Why is it that the Roman Polanskis, Woody Allens, and Abdellatif Kechiches of thw world are given a pass on this sort of thing, when no one else in the world would, secular or religious?