A film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this week reportedly caused outrage and prompted walkouts due to its lengthy and graphic sexual content.
According to IndieWire, Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo, a nearly four-hour film from Blue Is the Warmest Color director Abdellatif Kechiche, contains one long scene of what appears to be un-simulated oral sex between a man and a woman and also focuses heavily on women’s bottoms.
Intermezzo is the sequel to Kechiche’s 2017 movie Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno; both movies are based on the French novel “La Blessure, la vraie.”
Social media reactions from audience members at the screening of Intermezzo described the film as “vapid” and called it out for “objectification and voyeurism.” Some admitted to walking out of the film due to its content.
“I’ve witnessed the worst film in competition by miles, and its name is Mektoub,” one tweet read, calling it “contemptible, male gazing garbage.”
“I just walked out of Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo,” another audience member said. “The most lacivicious leery trash I’ve seen. Eurgh! Talk about objectification and voyeurism.”
Film critic Joshua Rothkopf wrote that Intermezzo contained “endless vapid scenes of flirting and dancing in bars,” and IndieWire critic David Ehrlich noted that “60% of the movie is close-ups of butts.”
The director responded to the criticism during the Cannes press conference for the film, saying, “The most important thing for me and this is what I want to say right away, was to celebrate life, love, desire, breath, music, the body. I wanted to try a cinematographic experience that would be as free as possible.”
Kechiche is best known for his 2013 movie Blue Is the Warmest Color, which contained similar graphic depictions of sex and won the prestigious Palme d’Or prize at that year’s Cannes.
This isn’t the first time audience members have walked out of a Cannes showing.
At 2018’s festival, Lars von Trier’s serial killer film The House That Jack Built cause similar ire due to its graphic depictions of violence against women.
“I’ve never seen anything like this at a film festival,” Variety reporter Ramin Setoodeh wrote on Twitter at the time. “More than 100 people have walked out of Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built, which depicts the mutilation of women and children. ‘It’s disgusting,’ one woman said on her way out.”
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