France - United States

Idaho sex-scene ban hits Cannes winner Blue is the Warmest Colour

not in Idaho - a scene from Bluer, known as La vie d'Adele in French
not in Idaho - a scene from Bluer, known as La vie d'Adele in French ©DR

Movie-goers in Idaho will not be able to see Cannes Palme d'Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour because of a ban on sex scenes linked to the US state's licensing law. A local paper in the state capital, Boise, reports that the local arthouse cinema dare not screen the film, hailed in France as "a masterpiece", because it fears losing its drinks licence.


Boise's The Flicks cinema is Idaho's principal outlet for foreign films and award-winners but, the Boise Weekly reports, it "won't go near this one".

Cannes 2013

Other cinemas are even less likely to show an interest, the weekly says.

Blue is the Warmest Colour, which won the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or, can be viewed by anyone over 12 in France, where it came out this week.

But in the US it has an under-18 certificate and The Flicks dare not show any NC-17 films, as they are known in the US.

That's because it has a drinks licence and Idaho's law on selling alcohol has a string of conditions attached, one of them being what the Boise Weekly describes as "the Gem State's most blatant forms of censorship".

As well as detailed instructions on what body parts employees must keep covered up, Idaho Code 23-614 bans licence-holders from showing films showing:

  1. "Acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation or any sexual acts which are prohibited by law.
  2. Any person being touched, caressed or fondled on the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals.
  3. Scenes wherein a person displays the vulva or the anus or the genitals.
  4. Scenes wherein artificial devices or inanimate objects are employed to portray any of the prohibited activities described in this section."

So that rules out Blue is the Warmest Colour, which contains a 10-minute sex scene, that took 10 days to shoot, between the two female stars, even though, as they told the Daily Beast, they used "fake pussies".

The film is released in North America on 25 October.

Distributors Sundance Selects refused to cut the sex scenes so as to get a certificate that would have allowed minors to view it if accompanied by an adult.

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