Well, the likelihood of cinephiles actually getting a chance to see Abdelatif Kechiche’s controversial Cannes entry, “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo,” is getting slimmer by the day. There were various accusations that Kechiche was subjected to after the screening at last month’s Cannes. Specifically, an anonymous source telling the pages of French publication Midi Libre that the director purposely inebriated his actress Ophélie Bau in order for her to perform a non-simulated sex scene. There was also, supposedly, a very awkward photocall between actress and director during the premiere of the film at the Palais des Festivals. Kechiche was even seen exiting the theater when the screening started, probably not wanting to sit next to his cast.
Kechiche has now released a statement about the drama surrounding “Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo.” [via Les Inrok] In a public letter addressed to Bau’s agent, Kechiche claims to be the victim of a conspiracy orchestrated by the French media and the agents of other actresses who have worked with him in the past (Sara Forestier, Hafsia Herzi, Léa Seydoux, and Adèle Exarchopoulos); he says their sole purpose is to destroy his career. He also claims that Ophélie was more than happy to take the role and show her body in all it’s beauty, and that she specifically requested a change in actors for the cunnilingus scene in order to perform it with her boyfriend. He concludes the letter by inviting her into the editing room to suggest any changes that she would like to be made to the scene.
Suffice to say, given the current climate, this film seems DOA at the moment.
If you remember, Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winning “Blue is the Warmest Color” had a similar controversy back in 2013 when its stars, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, accused the director of taking advantage of them on-set, both describing the experience as "horrible," and vowing to never work with him again. The whole controversy stems from the actresses admitting that they felt “forced” to perform the, now infamous, 13 minute graphic sex-scene.
In an interview in January 2014, Seydoux decided to tame down the controversy by stating: "I'm still very happy with this film. It was hard to film it and maybe people think I was complaining and being spoilt, but that's not it. I just said it was hard. The truth is it was extremely hard but that's OK. I don't mind that it was hard. I like to be tested. Life is much harder. He's a very honest director and I love his cinema. I really like him as a director. The way he treats us? So what!"