The presentation of lesbian sex in Blue is the Warmest Color didn’t make me uncomfortable upon first watch. Much like Linda Williams describes, the passion and fervor felt immediately relatable upon the basis of sexual awakening. However I am not quite as ready to dismiss the critique of Abdellatif Kechiche’s framing of the sex scene. Although I think that much of Dargis’ analysis is elementary at best, I do think that there is power in self-representation. For a lesbian to be able to construct a film that reflects her sexual reality is important, as Emily Dickinson gestures towards in A Room of One’s Own. However, as William’s contends, it is very possible that the work of an “authentic” auteur–in this case a lesbian–can certainly fall short in artistic terms, it still will at least be able to be honestly marketed as the lesbian experience.
I also want to contend with the depiction of gay male bodies in Stranger by the Lake–or specifically the way that William’s places the film in a sort of pre-AIDs green zone, because the way that bodies are coded in the film is deeply embedded with post-AIDs aesthetics and ideals–namely that the buff men are considered more physically attractive and desirable.