Saturday, December 14, 2013

10 Reasons Why Blue Is the Warmest Color

I'm so behind in my Oscar-season movie viewing that I'm planning on dedicating the next few weeks to playing catch up. Near the top of my must-see-movies list is the Cannes Palme d'Or-winning French drama Blue Is The Warmest Color, which is a much better title than La Vie d'Adele -- Chapitres 1 & 2 (The Life Of Adele -- Chapters 1 & 2). That almost never happens when movies are re-titled for foreign audiences (see Little Children to Secretos Intimos -- yuck!). I have no idea what it's about, but it had me at its English title, which evokes images of my favorite color in music, movies, art and life.

Blue is not only the warmest and most gorgeous color; it's the most contradictory one, too. Blue skies are a signpost of happy days, especially when they're spent by a deep blue ocean or vast blue sea. And l'amour est bleu (love is blue), according to the 1967 French-pop classic. And there's nothing better than love, right? But what a sad, sad song about love, a beautiful brutal thing, much like the color.

A blue mood is an unhappy one (just ask blue Jasmine in Blue Jasmine), as are most songs with "blue" in the title, even when they're not technically unhappy. Has there ever been a happy song that sounds sadder than "Blue Skies" (the Irving Berlin classic, not Jamiroquai's unrelated 2010 single, which was all kinds of melancholy, in both sound and lyrical content)? The color even gets its own musical genre, perhaps the most despairing one of all: I guess that's why they call it the blues.

It's also inspired some of the best performances and art, including the one that will soon win Cate Blanchett her second Academy Award and her first for Best Actress. (Fun fact: That would make her the second blonde star to go from Best Supporting Actress to Best Actress for a movie with a "blue" title, after Jessica Lange, who followed her Tootsie Oscar win with another for Blue Sky in 1994, which also made her the second Best Actress after Coal Miner's Daughter's Sissy Spacek to win for a performance opposite Tommy Lee Jones, Blanchett's costar in 2003's un-nominated The Missing, not to be confused with 1982's Missing, for which Spacek was nominated.)

I went through a green phase in my mid-to-late 20s, but I eventually returned to blue. I always go back to blue.

1. Pablo Picasso's Blue Period

2. Juliette Binoche in Trois couleurs: Bleu

3. Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea

4. Joni Mitchell's Blue album

5. "Almost Blue" Elvis Costello

6. "Blue Eyes" Elton John

7. "Blue Mood" Swing Out Sister

8. "Black Light Blue" Shelby Lynne

9. The Blues

10. Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine

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