Love – Gaspar Noé pushes the boundaries of sex in cinema
Written and directed by: Gaspar Noé
There are two directors my mind immediately thinks of when it comes to films that are incredibly well made, breathtaking to look at, but also very hard to watch and at times even so shocking that a seasoned movie watcher such as myself looks away from the screen. One is Lars Von Trier who’s “Antichrist” may be, to this day, the most simultaneously repulsive and beautiful movie I have ever seen. The other is Gaspar Noe who is widely known for shocking Cannes with his 2002 rape/revenge film “Irreversable” (Although it is worth noting that his debut film “I Stand Alone” is equally as good and equally as shocking).
In his new film “Love”, Noé tackles “sentimental sex” and once again, as expected, pulls no punches and pushes every envelope he can find to push. If you are not familiar with the writer/director’s work, simply do a google image search of this film and you will (or at least should) know what you are in for if you decide to watch it. If you do decide to go ahead, here is what you will experience.
The film’s opening scene shows a couple Murphy and Electra (played by Karl Glusman and Aomi Muyock) lying naked in bed. The two writhe and moan (with no musical accompaniment to help soften the noises) while stimulating each other with their hands and fingers until Murphy finishes into Electra’s hand. Right there you know that Noé is not playing around. You are about to see a film with a lot… A LOT of sex. real, unabashed sex.
The movie then flashes forward two years to Murphy waking up in his apartment that he now shares with his new girlfriend Omi (Kristin) and their son Gaspar. He is clearly miserable in his current situation, and his inner dialogue reveals that if it weren’t for the child he would have nothing to do with Omi. “This place is a cage” he says while trying to cope with the fact that he is stuck with this woman and child.
The rest of the movie bounces back and forth between showing Murphy’s present with Omi and his past with Electra and how everything changed. The majority of the story is about Murphy and Electra, showing how the two met, the blossoming of their relationship, drug and sexual experimentation (including a threesome with Omi), and the disintegration of their happiness.
While the narrative is strong and the aesthetic (yes, including the many sex acts) pleasing I did have one issue with “Love”. It is strange because I love Noé as a film maker, but in this one he just went way overboard on his own ego. I mean You have characters named Gaspar, Noé, and even Noé himself playing an art dealer named Aaron Pages (reshuffle the letters and you’ll get it). Every inch of Murphy’s apartment is covered in references to Noe’s other films. It was just a bit… much, although I must admit to chuckling to the absurd over-indulgence a few times.
Other than that one thing though I loved this movie. It is equally dark, sexy, humorous, and at the very heart of it tender and profound. With that said it is certainly not for everybody. I might even say it is only for a few. The few who enjoy watching subversive yet beautiful films about beautiful yet hateful characters who do awful things to each other and themselves. I am one of those few. The NSFW trailer is below: