‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ Can’t Play Idaho Theater Due to ‘Obscenity’

Arthouse theater is the only screen in Boise that plays foreign, independent films

If Idahoans are hoping to feast their eyes on Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Blue is the Warmest Color” in a theater, they’ll have to cross state lines to do so.

The Flicks, a Boise arthouse that corners the market on foreign and indie pics showing in the area, won’t go near the NC-17 rated film due to the strict parameters of the Idaho Code, reports the Boise Weekly.

The  code that allows exhibs’ to serve beer and wine also forbids theaters from screening movies that are in violation of Idaho’s code on indecency and obscenity. The Flicks’ liquor license is tied directly to Idaho Code 23-614, which prohibits “acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation and flagellation,” and “any person being touched, caressed or fondled on the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals.”

And it’s no secret that the stars of Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue” are caught in more than one of those acts.

After the film’s award-winning bow in Cannes, speculation spread as to whether Sundance Selects would release a tamer cut in the U.S. to score an R rating and draw in a wider audience.

But Jonathan Sehring, prexy of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said in a statement, “This is a landmark film with two of the best female performances we have ever see on screen. The film is first and foremost a film about love, coming of age and passion. 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 Color’ will play in theaters around the country regardless.”

Idaho residents, however, will be able to see the film in the intimacy of their own homes when IFC releases it on VOD after the theatrical release.

PHOTOS: Top Grossing NC-17 Movies

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  1. Dan says:

    Dear Variety: I am very disappointed you decided to become an online publication for the masses instead of a trade publication for those of us actually in the business in large metro areas. You apparently now have lots of ignorant and common readers who don’t have any idea what they’re actually discussing, as a quick look through this comments section should show you. I used to love both the paper and the online version – now you’re nothing more than another “fanboy” site, which beyond the articles is filled with name calling, political posturing, and spelling and grammatical errors that should embarrass a fifth grader. What a shame.

  2. Karl Spencer says:

    Feel free to go to any progressive state and watch this movie. After all, they don’t have standards. As for the FLIX they’d have shown it if the law hadn’t been in place. They are very progressive.

    • Tom says:

      “After all, they don’t have standards.”

      I love it when people make fools of themselves like you just did. It’s cute when people are so eager to express their ignorance.

      Let me make this VERY simple for you: The fact that some areas don’t share YOUR standards, doesn’t mean they don’t have any standards.

      So grow up and try again.

  3. Chris Hoobs says:

    To all of you posters who are praising the theater for not showing this movie, I say STOP! There has been nothing said about whether the theater wants to show it or not. The one and only thing stopping this movie from being is the law. The state says no and the theater owner doesn’t want to go to jail. Please stop crediting the owner with being altruistic when that hasn’t been proven.

  4. John Robin says:

    No, Libertarian, the Constitution does not give You the right to freedom of expression without any form of limits. Consequently not all of us desire to eliminate all forms of censorship. By Your line of reasoning, we should have no objection to local theaters airing anything they want, including child pornography.

    Yes, I support laws that restrict public airing of material that according to local standards is so offensive or obscene as to be generally considered intolerable. And I think most Americans feel this way.

    • Jeffrey Mehlman says:

      Your an idiot

      • John Lennon says:

        :) Yes, he is, and people like him make me barf. He is one of those who, in centuries past (note ‘past’), believed it was okay to burn human beings accused of witchery or who claimed that the earth was not the centre of the universe – a closed mind is a useless one. And, unfortunately, the USA seems to be home to a frightening number of useless minds.

    • ElvisMoab says:

      This or any other film shown at the theater is only shown to consenting adults. Why can’t they make the choice? Broadcast TV in the USA does not permit nudity before 10:00 PM. Yes, it IS permitted but networks and stations shy away because of potential backlash of the puritans. However, obscene violence is embraced by society.

    • Libertarian says:

      Your argument is fallacious. By being a libertarian, I by definition, do not support showing child pornography because a child is not an adult, and therefor not at the age of consent. Everything libertarians believe in aligns with consent (and thus, the age is in factor) and pure liberty.

      So you think you should be able to ban something because you find it offensive? In this particular case a simulated sex scene that comprises less than 5 % (3 hours with a 6 minute scene) of a movie? Furthermore, why ban it when adults are perfectly capable of making the decision to go see it or not? Don’t you think people should have the CHOICE or are you in favor of regulating everyone else’s morality? Those are not minimal government principles…if conservatives only stuck to that.

  5. grumpyKoz says:

    Isn’t freedom great!
    The private owner of this theater is willing to forego the profits of showing a movie in order to express his right to NOT show the movie it it offends him or his beliefs.
    AND, our country allows this, because we all have rights, given by God, to freedom.

    And those that want to see this movie, have the right to go elsewhere to see it. That is also a freedom right. Because our government does not privilege only specified theaters to show movies, other theaters will be able to accommodate the needs of the masses.

    But, when a government or group of people COMPEL a theater to show a movie, or be fined, that is indentured servitude. That is the making of one person a SLAVE to another. Well, that just is not allowed here by law, and it is not allowed here morally.


  6. Libertarian says:

    Why are conservatives supporting a ban on the theater from playing the movie? Should not the theater have the right to play the movie, and should not grown ups be able to go see that movie, whether or not you agree with the content? The story says the theater cannot play the movie, which is 3 hours longs and had a 6 minute simulated scene (less than 5% of the movie has actual sexual content), for fear of being in violation of an obscenity ordinance tied to their liquor license. That is censorship in a private business. Are you guys for the constitution or only when it suits you?

    • ElvisMoab says:

      The next time this or any other theater with a liquor license shows a murder they should have their license suspended under the obscenity rationale.

    • Jimmy Ducks says:

      Not this conservative. Heck, I’m down with a few pillow fights, mud wrasslin’, and even a little carpet munchin’. I’d even join in, if it was live!

  7. Evan Waters says:

    It’s a foreign film. Not from Hollywood at all.

    And why are you even reading Variety if you don’t care about “Hollyweird”?

  8. J says:

    Good for the theatre that refuses to show this movie. And any other theatre that makes the same decision.

    • John Lennon says:

      Well. ‘J’. It’s people with tiny minds such as yours who will be the downfall of what might have been a greater nation.

  9. Idealogue says:

    Yep, next week (or now) they’ll be showing movies where people are getting their heads blown off and shot with the bloodiest of graphics. Luckily the kids won’t be seeing all that unnatural stuff.

    • kadyalsalaam says:

      Well, your “problem” is not with the theatre — it’s with the ratings system that allows massive violence to be scored “R” while extreme sexuality gets the NC-17.

      Revise the rating system, and watch the violence level come down.

  10. Yirmin says:

    I suspect that technically the movie is in violation of many state laws and any theater showing it runs the risk of some serious fines. Many states prohibit not only child pornography but simulated sex with a minor. As I understand it the main character is supposed to be underage so it is debatable as to whether the movie could run afoul of the law in some states.

    I seem to recall in the past a Blockbuster employee was arrested in Oklahoma City because they rented someone a copy of The Tin Soldier. This could happen again.

    • BetweenLines says:

      This movie was made in France where the legal age of consent is 15. It’s not an American movie where a 19 year old simulating scenes with a 17 year old is somehow child pornography.

      • Yirmin says:

        Because it does not matter where a film was made or what the laws were in the country where they were made. What matters is the law in the place where the film is shown. Under your theory of how things should work if a person found a country where it was fine to show kids 10 years old having sex you could freely import that into the US since it was legal in the country where it was made. Laws regarding child pornography do not work like that. You would quickly be arrested because of US laws where you possessed the film. So whether you agree with the state laws that prohibit that kind of thing is not relevant. Those laws are in full effect in the states that have them regardless of whether the film is from France or any other place.

  11. Maxwell says:

    Idaho didn’t ban anything.

    This particular theater serves booze.

    In A LOT of states you can’t serve booze and have full-nudity. Idaho just doesn’t limit the restiction to live shows…they include movies.

    This entire situation is a nothing event.

    Any other theater (that doesn’t have a liquor license) could show this movie.

    The thing is, none of the real theaters are interested in showing it, because they wouldn’t make any $$

    • ElvisMoab says:

      So the real problem is the antiquated law that prevents one from consuming a legal beverage. Odd, I can buy and consume beer, wine or liquor at a strip club.

  12. HL Kam says:

    If this is a privately owned theater, they should have the right to censor. The public has the right to vote on the theater’s actions with their dollars. If this theater is owned by the government, different rules should apply.

    • Chris Hoobs says:

      So, by your logic, this private theater should be able to show kiddie porn, regardless of the laws of the state or country. Is that what you’re saying? Or are you saying that the state doesn’t have the right to make laws and enforce them?

      • BetweenLines says:

        There is a world of difference between child pornography and two adults in the act of simulated sex. How are people even equating the two?

      • ElvisMoab says:

        NC-17 isn’t illegal, it is regulated just like alcohol and tobacco. Child pornography is illegal.

  13. alpha1six says:

    I would think that a theater operator knowing what his/her community standards are should have the right to accept or reject any film. They should not be expected or required to show everything that comes out of Hollywood considering the quality of films in recent years.

  14. David says:

    Good for them.

  15. don says:

    If they refuse to show this movie, it is their right. It’s amazing how in the name of diversity, some lose their rights and are labled biggots. Nice trend, right

    • Tom says:

      So… Who exactly is “losing their rights” in this case? For the record, if you had actually read the article you were commenting on you would see that the theater didn’t choose not to show the film – rather, they’re not being allowed to by state laws. In other words, the theater owners are losing their right to show a movie that – no matter how much people may deny it – would have a decent sized audience (for a 3-hour French film), even in a conservative state like Idaho.

      “are labeled biggots [sic]”

      Oh, poor thing. Someone called you a bigot? Such oppression! I’m sure, however, that you have no problem with the MANY people in this very thread who feel the need to call anyone who is gay – or who is interested in seeing this film – “perverted” or “twisted” or “value-less” and whatnot.

      You might say: “Well, if the shoe fits.” To which I would respond: “Exactly. And that’s why I feel just fine calling you a bigot.”

  16. metoo says:

    I always chuckle when I see comments are moderated, usually that means, we love diversity until it disagrees with us. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding those “diverse” opinions.

  17. ElvisMoab says:

    It is truly sad when a society glorifies murder and death but finds sex to be pornographic.

    • canofsand says:

      Get a dictionary.

      • ElvisMoab says:

        So you must really find murder and death arousing. Does it titillate you? Or does oppressing normal health behavior cause you to get excited?

        The point is that American society is shocked and offended by sexuality but embraces violence and death. Seems to me that the former is healthy and the latter is truly offensive.

  18. ManOnPoint says:

    I get so tired of the left bitching when sane people say they are tired of being exposed to this filthy lifestyle!!! Enough of this trashy stuff and how about some more wholesome entertainment…Kudos to the people who choose NOT to bow on the altar of secular humanism!!!

  19. Proud to be an Idahoan, especially today. If someone really wants to see this movie, I’m sure it will be available digitally very soon.

  20. Wilmington Observer says:

    I applaud the theater for not playing this movie.

  21. GTD says:

    They didnt choose not to show it based on moral reasons, they weren’t allowed to show it BY LAW because they serve alcohol. Where does it say in the article they chose not to show it because they disagreed with the values in the film?

    P.S. Nobody went to see Atlas Shrugged

  22. Max17 says:

    Just put it on some free porn sight on the web.

  23. GTD says:

    You ask who would want to see two women engaging in sex?

    If the internet is any indication, your answer is MILLIONS OF AMERICANS.

  24. GTD says:

    They aren’t choosing not to show it because they agree with your homophobic nonsense, they’re complaining that they’re not allowed to show it by law because they serve alcohol. Find support for your hatred elsewhere lol

  25. BillyBob says:

    Good taste and common decency wins out over perversion.

  26. Dave says:

    They should be free to not play any movie they want. They don’t have to give a reason, but they could say they thought it was racist, showed bullying, was demeaning to minorities, or the projector was malfunctioning. There are many ways to approach a problem.

  27. BigDino says:

    Yea everyone! ‘Murca! Let’s shut down someone’s business because they’re showing a movie we don’t like!! Freedom and Liberty only for opinions we approve of!!

    Read the article you illiterates. No one is making the argument that this theater should have to show the movie, that is not the issue. Should he have his business punished (losing his liquor license) for doing so? Should the local government have influence (the loosely defined “obscenity” law) on what you see as an adult, in private, because they think they know better than you? Don’t see the movie, hate it if you want- but don’t prevent a business from showing it or people from seeing it, and then delude yourselves into thinking you’re patriots.

  28. bryan hare says:

    now if the rest of the country would fall in line

    • GTD says:

      Good luck, studies show the country is moving away from puritanical nonsense, not towards it. Catch up to to the rest of the world and stop being so prude middle america

      • Tom says:

        Well, in this case, we’re not talking about “obscenity” or “pornography” – so your post, dear Joe, is at best a non-sequitur.

      • GTD says:

        It’s only your definition of pornography and obscenity Joe, not everyone’s. Stop pushing your beliefs on everyone else. No one’s forcing anyone to see this movie, stop being so offended it exists

      • Libertarian says:

        It’s interesting that people think “divine law” is the law of the land. It is not, it is something people are free to pursue on their own and without mandating their viewpoints on their neighbor or community. If you want to live under a theocratic government, go live in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

        Morality is not something you enforce on the population by way of law (I’m assuming you people have never read John Locke, the man behind the philosophy of our constitution) it is something people consent and pursue on their individual accord. I am so surprised that conservatives think they can ban something based on content alone. If you don’t like it, don’t see it- but don’t prevent a private business from operating because you have a problem with something you wouldn’t go see anyways. This liquor license/obscenity law won’t last another 10 years, and it shouldn’t. Adults don’t need an overreaching local government to tell them what movies are okay and not okay.

      • Rob says:

        “In every condition of life, and in forming your opinions on every subject, let it be an established principle in regulating your conduct, that nothing can be honorable which is morally wrong. Men who disregard or disbelieve revelation often err from the true standard of honor, by substituting public opinion or false maxims for the divine laws.”
        – Noah Webster

        Catch up to the rest of the world? I don’t think so. I will never veer away from the divine laws no matter how many disagree with me.

      • Joe says:

        A stand against pornography and obcenity is not being prudish.

  29. CritterGirl says:

    At least there is one theatre in America with morals. Thank you IDAHO for not showing this porn and smut in your theatre.

  30. red speck says:

    Guess they’ll have to get their porn elsewhere. Oh! The humanity!

  31. idahoguy101 says:

    Don’t blame it on homophobia. NC-17 and X rating don’t get shown in public in Idaho. Boise has had a Gay Pride parade since at least 1990. The theater will play the R rated version when it comes out

  32. Ernie Blakey says:


  33. linda says:

    I’m sure the owners of this theater are interested in making money. If you offend the community standards people will not come. They will not spend money on the product you are selling and it might also tarnish your reputation. Why would a business owner do that? I’ve been to Boise many times and they do have very different standards than San Francisco. Good call from the business owners.

    • GTD says:

      They didnt make the choice based on values lol, they said they’re not legally allowed to show the movie cuz they serve alcohol. What in the article makes you think they’re homophobic prudes like you?

  34. Roberts says:

    When will Hollywood learn? Nobody in real America really cares about ‘Sundance ‘ or is interested in having this type of film in their community. It will not make this normal outside of Hollywood/LA. Try making something that the other 99 percent want to watch and take our kids to.

    • GTD says:

      This is a french film you troglodyte. It’s not produced, written, or filmed in America, and none of the people in it are American, let alone from Hollywood. Read facts sometime

      • Tom says:

        Pepina – I’m afraid the only person embarrassing themselves here is you. The film was produced and financed in France – and the directors, actors, cinematographer, screenwriter, etc. are all French. Even the graphic novel that the film is based on is French, as is the author of that graphic novel.

        To suggest that it is even partly a “Hollywood film” because it’s distributed in the United States by an American company is the absolute height of absurdity. By those standards, ANY film that receives distribution in the United States is “Hollywood,” since almost all distribution labels have at least some connection to Hollywood.

        So no, GTD’s “strong corrective statement” was absolutely accurate – anyone who knows anything about this film or film distribution would laugh at the notion that this has much of anything to do with Hollywood.

      • GTD says:

        You couldn’t sue Walmart for your faulty mp3 player Pepina, you’d sue the manufacturer, who made it. So because Sundance and IFC paid money to distribute a french independent film in America, that makes it a hollywood film? You obviously don’t understand the film industry…

        What’s next? American film critics reviewed the french film, so it’s a hollywood movie now?

      • Pepina says:

        It’s a little embarrassing when we make strong, corrective statements and then find out that we may not be entirely correct ourselves. True, ‘Blue’ is a French film but the North and Latin American rights (rights.. a high degree of ownership) to the film is owned by Sundance Select/IFC. And while SS/IFC is based in New York City, SS was founded by Robert Redford.. who is as ‘Hollywood’ as it gets. If you still can’t make the connection, let me put it this way: If the MP3 player you just purchased at Walmart blows up in your hand and burns off your eyebrows.. who will you return it to… a little factory in Zhejiang, PRC, or Walmart?

  35. mapache says:

    So, will there be a lawsuit like the ones against those who did not want to make a wedding cake?

  36. Norm B says:

    To the theater owners: bravo. Bravo.

    To the hordes who support the film:

    “There is a way which seems right to a man,
    But its end is the way of death.
    -Proverbs 14:12

    • GTD says:

      They didnt make their decision because they agree with you Norm, they made it cuz the law says theyre not allowed to show it because they serve alcohol.

      • GTD says:

        The law doesnt work like that ElvisMoab. If your establishment serves liquor (i.e. has a license to serve liquor) you must abide by their obscenity laws. You can’t just “not serve liquor for that showing”…

      • ElvisMoab says:

        Then don’t serve alcohol during this showing. Problem solved.

  37. Vexious says:

    I can’t imagine very many people in the entire world are `hoping to feast their eyes on Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Blue is the Warmest Color” in a theater’.

  38. josetoyou says:

    Wow, a welcome faint glimmer of morality in America…I love it!

  39. tea isstronger says:

    What kind of Doctor are you. A lot of homosexuals pass themselves off as doctors to get acceptance of their viewpoints and life style. What kind of Doctor are you and can you prove it. Why did you have to use your professional title anyway?

    Doctor of Teaology.

  40. Brian Astby says:

    Are LGBT the only people who cannot be offended?

  41. Dick Hertx says:

    You sound familiar, didn’t you go down on me last week?

  42. Tony Weiner says:

    In a related story…..a New York theater refused to play a movie showcasing traditional American values.

    The theater owner said, “the movie is perverse, homophobic, racist and goes against modern New York values of decadence, hedonism, atheism and idol worship.

  43. Eric says:

    I don’t see the issue. A theater has the right to show whatever movie they want to, just as a potential customer has the right to go to that theater, choose a different theater, or not go to any.

    • Jackyl says:

      @Eric I think that the theatre would like to show the movie, but the laws that govern their liquor licence forbid them from showing something that the state considers indecent.

  44. Rob says:

    I wouldn’t go see it.

  45. tadchem says:

    There seems to be a deep-seated insecurity among many in the LGBT ‘community’ that drives them to seek approval from the ‘mainstream’ for their difference. They demand respect, believing that will make them feel better about themselves, not realizing that respect beyond mere civility must be earned.

  46. jody says:

    YES, YES, YES, AND YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AMEN!

  47. Kahless says:

    I don’t understand many of the complaints that many of my fellow Conservatives have. Sure, we don’t like the life-style these people live but we do defend and support the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, which states that people have the right to create films like this and theaters have the right to play or not to play these films. No one is being forced to watch these films, and I hope the theaters that show these films (or even R-rated hetero films) are not allowing minors in. There are far worse problems going on in this country than this.

    • GTD says:

      thank you for being the first conservative comment on here which has intelligence and actually adheres to conservative principles.

    • iamborghue says:

      It doesn’t specifically say “homosexual” or “gay” but it does say we have “a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. If the “pursuit of happiness” is consensual intercourse between adults of similar gender, then we should defend their right to do so (even though we oppose the act).

  48. tadchem says:

    Someone please tell Jonathan Sehring that grammar is the difference between ‘feeling your nuts’ and ‘feeling you’re nuts.’ Females may perform, but performances cannot be females.

    The Idaho Code is the Idaho Code, and if The Flicks wants to keep their Idaho liquor license they will have to comply with the Idaho Code. I see no problem here.

  49. NooYawkah says:

    Idaho residents were outraged. Actually, no, they weren’t.

  50. Yarply Twelve says:

    I loved Idaho while I lived there. Reading this story makes me wonder why I ever left.

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