From the same director as Irréversible and Enter the Void, Gaspar Noé’s latest film, Love, explores the tumultuous nature of love and sex in a graphic 3-D exposition. The film is erotic and explicit, but much softer than Noé’s earlier movies. Love will not win any awards for acting, it doesn’t possess the frightening shock of Irréversible, nor does it achieve the visual brilliance of Enter the Void, but there is something truthful and endearing about its semi-autobiographical plot and the type of sex it explores.
Murphy is an American budding filmmaker living in Paris (coincidentally most of his filmic preferences match those of Noé) and is living unhappily with his girlfriend Omi and their son. He is still deeply obsessed and fixated on his ex-girlfriend Electra, whom he cheated on with Omi, resulting in her pregnancy. Murphy pines over the estranged Electra and reflects on their turbulent past via hoarse commentary and shots of his woozy point of view.
Besides the almost inaudible dialogue and disjointed narrative, the film, in typical Noé fashion, is a provocative, graphic documentation of real sex and real love. The audience is confronted with discomfort and in glorious 3-D viewing, but the sex acts aren’t exactly shocking. There is sincerity in the action onscreen, which is intriguing. The story may be very vanilla, but the film portrays sex as it actually happens, distinct from the glamorised or coquettish cinematic norm. Not only does it illustrate real sex, but real love, as a wonder of intrigue and nervousness, to a toxic and cynical monster. The mingling of both love and sex can be beautiful and destructive.
The film shifts between various angles of unsteady hovering and Wes Anderson-style symmetry in framing. It is shot in varying degrees of colourful light, which is reminiscent of the director’s penchant for red-filter lighting. The use of 3D doesn’t contribute much except gimmicky trademark, and perhaps the innovation of seeing semen fly at your face, which is more distressing than artistic from the safety of your movie seat.
Love isn’t perfect, and neither is Love. There is humour, cynicism, and charm to the plot, which is perhaps a personal influence by the director. In any case, it is a courageous account of an age-old story: longing for the one that got away.
Love is released on 18th November 2015
Watch the trailer for Love here: