Sundance Selects to release Abdellatif Kechiche’s 2013 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner with adult rating.

Rather than trimming the film or releasing the film ‘Unrated’, Sundance Selects will release Kechiche’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour with the MPAA rating of NC-17 for “explicit sexual content”.

The film will be released in US theatres on Oct 25 following its screening at the New York Film Festival.

Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “We refuse to compromise Kechiche’s vision by trimming the film for an R rating, and we have every confidence that Blue Is The Warmest Colour will play in theaters around the country regardless.

“An NC-17 rating no longer holds the stigma it once did… We believe this film will leave a lasting imprint as the Last Tango In Paris for a whole new generation.”

It received a rating of “12” by the French Ministry of Culture, which indicates the film is unsuitable only for children younger than 12 years of age in that country.

The story centres on a 15-year-old girl named Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who dreams of experiencing her first love. She begins a relationship with a confident older art student named Emma (Lea Seydoux) that develops into a complex love story which spans a decade.

The film was produced by Alcatraz Films, Quat’Sous Films and Wild Bunch. 

Spielberg endorsement

When it won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival, jury president Steven Spielberg called the film “a great love story that made all of us feel privileged to be a fly on the wall, to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak evolve from the beginning.”

He added: “We didn’t think about how it was going to play, we just were really happy that someone had the courage to tell this story the way he did…The issue of gay marriage is one that many brave states in America are resolving in a way that suits all of us that are in favor of gay marriage. But I think actually this film carries a very strong message, a very positive message.”

It also secured the highest score awarded by the Screen jury at Cannes in May.

Worldwide sales

The film has practically sold-out by Wild Bunch around the world, apart from in territories where the subject matter is culturally sensitive.

Curzon Film World picked up rights for the UK, where it will be released on Nov 15, and Alamode took it for Germany.

The picture has also been sold to Australia and New Zealand (Transmission), Italy (Lucky Red), Benelux (Cineart), Spain (Vertigo), Japan (Comstock) and Korea (Pancinema).

Scandinavian sales include Denmark (Camera), Finland (Cinema Mondo), Iceland (Green Light), Norway (Arthaus) and Sweden (Folkets Bio).

Kechiche’s habitual distributor in Tunisia, Familia Productions, also plans to distribute the film in the Franco-Tunisian director’s native country, where its same-sex love story is likely to prompt some controversy among more conservative elements of Tunisian society.

Wild Bunch Distribution (WBD) will release the film in France in October.