Blue Is the Warmest Color (comics)
|Blue Is the Warmest Color
(Le bleu est une couleur chaude)
Original cover of the English-language edition
|Page count||160 pages|
|Date of publication||March 2010|
|Publisher||Arsenal Pulp Press|
Blue Is the Warmest Color (Le bleu est une couleur chaude, originally announced as Blue Angel) is a French graphic novel by Julie Maroh, published by Glénat in March 2010. The English-language edition was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2013. The novel tells a love story between two young women in France at the end of the 1990s. Abdelatif Kechiche directed a film adaptation in 2013, titled Blue Is the Warmest Colour, which was awarded the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
The story takes place in France at the beginning of the new millennium, between the years of 1994 and 2008. After the death of her partner Clémentine, Emma goes to the home of Clémentine's parents, Daniel and Fabeinne, in accordance with Clémentine's will, to request access to Clémentine's personal diary. Emma must face the hostility of Clémentine's father—somewhat off-set by Clementine's welcoming mother. The story then follows Emma as she reads Clémentine's diary, which tells the whole story of the relationship between the two young women from Clémentine's teenage years and her first meeting with Emma to her untimely death.
In the beginning, Clémentine meets a boy, Thomas, who is a student in Terminale; both like each other, but soon afterwards, Clémentine becomes intrigued by a chance meeting with a blue-haired young woman on the arm of another woman named Sabine Decocq. For Clémentine, it is love at first sight. Unable to forget this encounter she starts to have doubts about her sexuality—but decides to date Thomas because she wants to feel normal. Six months later, however, Clémentine is unable to have sex with Thomas and breaks up with him. Feeling depressed, she is helped by one of her male friends, Valentin, to whom she confesses everything; Valentin tells her that he has already dated a boy, which Clémentine finds quite comforting.
Shortly thereafter, Valentin takes Clémentine to some gay bars. During an evening at a lesbian bar Clémentine sees the blue-haired young woman again with Sabine. The blue-haired girl comes to talk to Clémentine and introduces herself as Emma. The two keep in touch and become friends, while Clémentine secretly falls in love with Emma. Clémentine then has to face the gossip and homophobic rants from some of her schoolmates when they hear that she and Emma were in a gay bar together. Some time later, while the relationship between Emma and Sabine has somewhat stalled (mainly because Sabine is often cheating on her) Clémentine eventually confesses her feelings to Emma, who confesses, in turn, to being in love with her. The girls have sex and start an affair. Emma eventually finds the strength to break up with Sabine and to start living with Clémentine. One night, when the two young women spend the evening together at Clémentine's place, Emma walks into the kitchen completely naked to get a glass of milk and Clémentine's mother catches her. Clémentine's parents then find both of them nude in the bedroom and their reaction is violently hostile: Clémentine is thrown out of her home, along with Emma.
Clémentine then starts living at Emma's parents' place; the two women subsequently get a home of their own and live there happily for several years. Emma becomes an artist, while Clémentine becomes a teacher in high school. Emma starts to become politically involved and takes part in LGBT activism, while Clémentine prefers to keep her sexuality private, as she still suffers from her father disowning her. One day Emma discovers that Clémentine cheated on her with a colleague; angry, she breaks up with her and throws her out. Clémentine, who has taken refuge at Valentin's place, becomes depressed and addicted to pills. Valentin ends up organising a meeting and leaves both women alone on a beach. Still in love with each other, they reconcile, but Clémentine is undone by her addiction to certain pills. Clémentine's addiction results in a seizure and she ends up at the hospital, where Emma discovers that she is not allowed access to her at first. Clémentine's parents and Emma eventually learn, tragically, that it is too late to save her; the damage from her addiction is too great. Clémentine writes the final pages of her diary at the hospital, then dies. As Emma reads the conclusion of the diary, she remembers that Clémentine urged her to continue living her life as she knows it.
From 27 to 30 January 2011, this novel was promoted during the 2011 Angoulême International Comics Festival, where it is part of the official selection. During this festival, Blue Is the Warmest Color was awarded the Fnac-SNCF Essential prize, an award that was elected by the public.
Editions and translations
- (in French) Julie Maroh, Le bleu est une couleur chaude, Glénat – Hors collection, 2010 ISBN 978-2-7234-6783-4
- Julie Maroh, Blue Is the Warmest Colour, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013 ISBN 978-1-55152-514-3
- (in Spanish) Julie Maroh, El azul es un color cálido, Dibbuks, 2011 ISBN 978-84-92902-44-6
- (in Dutch) Julie Maroh, Blauw is een warme kleur, Glénat – Hors collection, 2011 ISBN 978-90-6969-933-2
- (in Portuguese) Julie Maroh, Azul é a cor mais quente, Editora Martins Fontes – Selo Martins, 2013 ISBN 978-85-8063-125-8
- (in Greek) Julie Maroh, Το Μπλε είναι το πιο Ζεστό Χρώμα, ΚΨΜ, 2013 ISBN 978-96-0675-084-7
- (in Swedish) Julie Maroh, Blå är den varmaste färgen, Nubeculis, 2015 ISBN 978-91-6378-736-2
- Prix Jeune Auteur at the Salon de la BD et des Arts Graphiques of Roubaix 2010
- Prix Conseil Régional at the festival of Blois 2010
- Fnac-SNCF Essential at the 2011 Angoulême International Comics Festival
- Diplôme "Isidor" of the website altersexualite.com
- Prix BD des lycéens de la Guadeloupe
- Prize of the best international album during the 4e Festival international de la BD d'Alger in 2011
A film adaptation has been made by Abdelatif Kechiche, with Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos in the main roles, which was released in 2013 under the title Blue Is the Warmest Colour. The film, as with the book, received overwhelming critical acclaim; it won several awards including the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
While the first two thirds of the film are similar (albeit with Clémentine renamed "Adèle"), the ending is different from the book, in which Adèle is still alive, and the two lovers split up due to what is strongly hinted to be irreconcilable differences between them.
- Aurélia Vertaldi (21 January 2011). "Moi, Clémentine, 15 ans, je vis pour les yeux d'Emma". Le Figaro. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- Angoulême 2011: la sélection officielle Archived May 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Critique du site altersexualite.com
- Palmarès 2011 Prix BD des lycéens de la Guadeloupe
- Résultats des concours professionnels sur le site du festival. Page consultée le 29 November 2011.
- Le Bleu est une couleur chaude Archived July 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. – Premiere.fr