Books Jacket Copy

'Blue Is the Warmest Color' gets NC-17 rating; book due in September

It's not just the French who have a better handle on sexy material than Americans -- Canadians do, too.

The film "Blue Is the Warmest Color," notorious for its sexy scenes between two young women, took the top prize at Cannes this year. But it's had a hard time finding its way into American theaters.

This week it was announced that it will be released this fall with an NC-17 rating, the first NC-17 film of 2013. Sundance Selects/IFC Films President Jonathan Sehring said in a statement that the company "refused to compromise [director Abdellatif] Kechiche's vision by trimming the film for an R rating." Whether or not theaters will embrace an NC-17 film is another matter.

The movie is based on a graphic novel by French artist and author Julie Maroh, originally published by Glénat, a Belgian graphic novel publisher. In 2012 it was picked up for English translation at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and it's finally coming to shelves in September.

Who's publishing it? Not an American publishing house.

"Blue Is the Warmest Color" will be published in early September by Arsenal Pulp Press, a Canadian independent with, its website notes, a staff of five. It specializes in LBGT fiction and nonfiction, gender studies, and alternative culture books such as vegan cookbooks and alternative crafts. Graphic novels aren't one of its specialties, but same-sex relationships are.

After the film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, Maroh wrote on her blog that she was dissatisfied with the film's notorious -- and now, we know, NC-17 -- sex scenes. Maroh called them “a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn.”

Arsenal Pulp hasn't yet taken sides. "The fact that the author’s vision of the film differs from not only the filmmakers but many of the reviewers who have heaped praise upon it has itself generated a great deal of attention," the publisher wrote on its blog. "Not having seen the film yet, we can’t offer an opinion of our own. But we certainly respect Julie’s comments about it, which raise some provocative points about male depictions of female sexuality both onscreen and in the culture at large."

The graphic novel is where Maroh's original vision can be found. It will be published Sept. 3. Originally slated to be titled "Blue Angel" in English, the title has since been revised to "Blue Is the Warmest Color" so its connection to the film is clear.

ALSO:

Countdown to J.D. Salinger liftoff

Bad news times two for Barnes & Noble

Elmore Leonard hailed as the book world's king of cool

Carolyn Kellogg: Join me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Elmore Leonard: Robert Crais remembers 'Dutch'
    Elmore Leonard: Robert Crais remembers 'Dutch'

    When Elmore Leonard died Tuesday -- at 87, still working on his 46th book -- we asked some of our favorite authors to share their thoughts about him. Robert Crais, the bestselling author of the 2012 thriller "Suspect" and the Elvis Cole crime series that began with "L.A. Requiem," has this...

  • Veronica Roth, author of 'Divergent,' to launch new book series
    Veronica Roth, author of 'Divergent,' to launch new book series

    Veronica Roth, author of the wildly popular "Divergent" series, is starting on a new line of books. The as-yet untitled project is planned as a duology for young adults. It is to be published by Harper Collins.

  • Writer Nathan Englander's avenging pen
    Writer Nathan Englander's avenging pen

    Nathan Englander was in college when he first heard the story of Stalin's 1952 purge of Russia's top Yiddish writers. Determined that their story not die with them, he fictionalized their plight in "The Twenty-Seventh Man," the short story that led his 1999 award-winning debut collection,...

  • In Ishiguro's 'The Buried Giant,' memory draws a blank
    In Ishiguro's 'The Buried Giant,' memory draws a blank

    Kazuo Ishiguro has made a career of the unexpected. His best-known novel, 1989's Man Booker-winning "The Remains of the Day," is narrated by an English butler looking back on the love he let elude him on a country estate in the years leading to World War II. "When We Were Orphans" (2000)...

  • Quan Barry's 'She Weeps' listens to the stories of Vietnam's dead
    Quan Barry's 'She Weeps' listens to the stories of Vietnam's dead

    Here's a true dumb American confession: I have a hard time with historical novels that take place outside of the U.S. I'm not much of a history buff, and I find it takes a skillful, engaging author to both situate and dazzle me with beauty at the same time. Quan Barry, as it turns out, is...

  • J.K. Rowling bibliography reveals secrets of the 'Harry Potter' books
    J.K. Rowling bibliography reveals secrets of the 'Harry Potter' books

    An exhaustive new J.K. Rowling bibliography being published in the U.K. reveals secrets behind the workings of her Harry Potter books, the Guardian reports. "J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013" by Philip Errington includes correspondence between Rowling and her editor and details the...

Comments
Loading