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 post-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 released a statement about the drama surrounding his film [via Les Inrok]. In a public letter addressed to Bau’s agent, Kechiche claimed 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. The director also claimed that Bau was more than happy to take on the sexually-charged 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 saying that he invited her into the editing room to suggest any changes that she would like to be made to the scene.
Well, whether Kechiche invited Bau into the editing room or not, a French source is telling me that Kechiche is now editing a new version of “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo,” a version which has completely erased Bau from the movie. All of the actress’ scenes have completely been cut out.
If this rumour is true, the decision to release this latest cut would be a mind-boggling thing to do, especially considering that Bau has the most screen time of any of the actors in ‘Intermezzo.’
The decision to release this cut is being considered due to the film, quite surprisingly, still not having found a French release date, a country where Kechiche has become a household name after winning the Palme d’Or in 2013 for “Blue is the Warmest Colour.”