Saturday, January 23, 2016

Love (2015)

Director: Gasper Noe
Writer:    Gasper Noe
Cast:       Aomi Muyock, Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin

Murphy is an American man living in Paris who enters a highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship with the unstable Electra. Unaware of the effect it will have on their relationship, they invite their pretty neighbor into their bed.

The film made headlines much before its release because of the fact that sex scenes in it were not simulated or choreographed. That and the film was going to be in 3D. So it was sort of a surprise to hear that it was screened at International Film Festival of Kerala, that too twice due to popular demand. I think it is the only film festival in India where you don't need CBFC certification for the international films to be screened. So if you want to see a film in all its glory with a public audience, get a pass to attend IFFK. It was funny to see the audience getting interviewed by TV news channels after the screening and most of them struggled to keep a straight face while saying that the film was very disappointing.   

The other recent film from a mainstream director that depicted un-simulated sex scenes was Michael Winterbottom's '9 Songs'. In that one they were filmed in a very un-sexy way while that is not the intention of Gasper Noe. Murphy in the film is an aspiring filmmaker and he mentions in a conversation that more films should be out there depicting pure romantic sex scenes. There is a lot of Gasper Noe talking through his characters and you get things like love for '2001: A Space Odyssey', a poster of Salo, two characters in it being named Gasper and Noe, etc. Some critics have called out the egocentricity of the project but I thought it was done in good humor. It takes a while to figure out the relationships between the various characters and that is when the film is at its most interesting best. We learn over the course of the film that the pretty neighbor was just a trigger and there was a lot else wrong going on in their relationship. The initial narration sounded to me very much like the one in 'Sin City'. There is a very funny scene where a Police officer explains to Murphy that he needs to let go off the American ownership/proprietary mentality to relationships and be willing to accept openness of French society. After about the half-way mark the film kind of loses its way and descends into an exercise of showing all variety of sex-scenes and to top it all he introduces one involving a transgender person as well. 

To sum up, it is decent enough watch with a much stronger first half than the second. You just don't feel enough for the two characters for the second half to totally work. Both of its leads were making their acting debuts with this film and they did really well. Gasper Noe guarantees stunning imagery and you get that with this film as well, am not necessarily talking about the scenes for which the film is famous for. Erik Satie's 'Gnoissienne' is featured heavily as BGM and that is always a good thing. The only other film that I have seen of Noe has been 'Enter the Void'. Love is a much more straight forward film than that.

Rating: 3/5