Film scandal at Cannes in 2019, where is Mektoub my love: Intermezzo by Abdellatif Kechiche?

The director had caused controversy with his very raw composition of an evening in a nightclub. So much so that it still hasn’t been released in theaters.

“Appalling”, “abyssal void”, “shipwreck”: at the end of the Cannes session in 2019, Mektoub my love: Intermezzo left no one unmoved. The film outraged part of the public of 72and Cannes Film Festival because of its crudeness, and in particular an unsimulated oral sex scene of nearly fifteen minutes. To the point that several spectators had come out during the screening.

At the end of the hectic session, the director tried to explain his approach at a press conference. “I tried to show what makes me vibrate, to see bodies, bellies, buttocks, bodies”, he explained. And buttocks, there are. 178 shots, to be exact, according to the journalist’s accounts Anaïs Bordages. Most of the 3:30 film takes place in a nightclub where young bodies undulate, the camera regularly landing on the behinds of the dancers, often female dancers. At the press conference, the absence of Ophélie Bau had been noticed. The actress, at the heart of the cunnilingus scene, had left the official session of Intermezzo “because she did not agree with what was going to be screened”, she had explained to Canal +.

Three years later, despite occasional rumors and requests from fans of Abdellatif Kechiche’s cinema, the theatrical release of the film has still not been announced. The reason ? “A dispute between its director and its producers-distributors”, advance AlloCine. The Parisian, for its part, evokes other problems: the absence of a buyer, already, but also the “staggering” cost of the soundtrack which includes three hours of music in a nightclub. The likely ban on the film for those under 18 does not help matters.

No release date for Canto Due no more

The film follows the meeting of a group of friends from Sète with Marie, a young student from Paris, as the end of summer approaches. For Kéchiche, it constitutes an “interlude” between Mektoub My Love: Canto Uno and Canto Due, presented from the start as a diptych. Although critically acclaimed, the first opus had only totaled 130,000 admissions, not enough to make the film’s 8 million euro budget profitable.

Filmed largely at the same time as the first two opuses, Mektoub my love: Canto Duehas no release date either. The Parisian reveals, however, that “several members of the film crew […] assured that if Intermezzo was unlikely to be shown to the public one day, Mektoub My Love: Canto Due could be”.

Awarded a Palme d’Or at Cannes, The Life of Adele, another film by Abdellatif Kechiche, had already caused a scandal when it was released in 2013 because of its very explicit sex scenes. The Franco-Tunisian director, now 61, was also singled out at the time for his acting direction deemed problematic after the testimonies of the two main actresses, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. “The film was super hard to shoot. But I also had great moments of pleasure. It’s very ambivalent, not just horrible.”Léa Seydoux still remembered in an interview with Figaro in December 2021.

We would love to thank the writer of this post for this incredible material

Film scandal at Cannes in 2019, where is Mektoub my love: Intermezzo by Abdellatif Kechiche?