Love: Instructions On How To Be Trash Without Falling Into the Trap of Vulgarity

“Blood, sperm and tears.” This would be the make of all of Murphy’s films, Love’s American film student protagonist.

Empty room. An omnipresent character’s thoughtspace fills the screen: the color red follows. Bodies mingle under the intense light. Red light bleeds through the screen, representing love, blood, power, menstruation, sexuality and provocation. A blow job and an ejaculation. This is how Franco-Argentine director Gaspar Noé introduces audiences to the sexually explicit world of Love.

Noé’s semi-autobiographical hero is thrust deep into the world of love, but not the love the average person is used to. Instead, it is a uniquely Noé love; the consumptive, trashy, garbage dirt love. The one that keeps you up at night, the one that makes you cheat and brings the worst out in everyone. The kind that makes you want to murder someone and then have insane sex.

Balancing shame, guilt, and pleasure, all in intensive 3D, the first 15 minutes cause hesitance on whether to be bewildered or completely thrilled by this new aesthetic practice. Once the first feeling of awkwardness fades, you can sit back and enjoy what’s probably your first pornographic experience in 3D on the widescreen. Only Noé can make you feel as if he’d taken away your cinematographic virginity.

A gut-wrenching but beautifully disturbing fourth film, violence is muted throughout. Love is tame compared to Noe’s previous pieces—like Irreversible and Enter the Void. Purity is even extracted from this slow but wonderful scene staging the couple at a Chinese restaurant. The green lightning effect stands for Noe’s ability to gamble with the mood of his public.

How does it feel to have a child with the wrong woman? Imperfect human beings trying to achieve perfection. A not so exclusive love still haunted by excruciating feelings. The audience is attending to an event where the characters are just puppets at the whims of a greater power.

Obviously, even the most challenging porno is still about getting hot. Probably one of the most epic threesome sex scenes in the history of cinema can be found here. A succession of cuts, high-angle shots and tongues pays homage to John Carpenter and the symbiosis of bodies; an erotic melodrama, as Noé has described it.

In an interview with Vice, Noé emphasizes his interest in choosing actors who would seem real; another argument to see this as either a renewal of 70s blue flicks, or just a hypersexual love story. To all those hypocrites saying sex has nothing to do with love, Gaspar Noé has the perfect answer in his possession.

Released on July 15, starring Karl Glusman and Aomi Muyock, Noe’s latest endeavour is a perpetual and sometimes not so subtle mise en abyme. A stunning debut for the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma last Thursday at Concordia.

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