Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Hang on. They haven’t banned Blue is the Warmest Colour

Five months ago, the Daily Star convincingly told us that the Palme d’Or winner was set to be banned. What happened?

Tue, Nov 12, 2013, 22:03


It would not be right if we failed to return to a story from early June. Regular readers may remember that, about two weeks after Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Colour won the top prize at Cannes, the Daily Star ran a headline arguing that “Irish cinema censors are set to ban a movie for the first time in a decade”. Such august organs as Irish Central picked up the story about the “steamy lesbian” drama and speculated that the film could be added to the 150 films still banned. Why, this was surprising. It has been many, many years since a film been banned. We all felt that, if such a thing were to happen, it would surely involve some sort of terrible violent act rather than a depiction of consensual lesbian sex. Some source in the Irish Film Classification Office, smelling a reactionary shift, looked to have tipped off the Star.

At the time, I mailed Ger Connolly, acting Classification Officer, and somewhat facetiously asked him why he was banning this fine film (which he obviously was, because it said so in the paper). Ever professional, Ger replied: “Blue Is The Warmest Colour has not been seen by me and currently is not on the schedule. When a release date is set for Ireland I will then view it and make a decision.”

He (or his colleague) has now seen the picture and, as everyone suspected, it has been awarded an 18 cert. The story was entirely made up. I don’t know why I bothered mentioning it. You can see Blue is the Warmest Colour for yourself next week. Keep an eye out for my interview with the director. It’s revealing.