Cinematic Releases: Gaspar Noe's Love

Being in France for a week gave us access to seeing Gaspar Noe's Love before it has a chance to hit the U.S..

"I hope you brought the rubbers.
Things are about to get ugly up in here."
To end our first weekend ever in Paris, we watched Love in a dingy old basement theater with about twenty seats and seven other audience members, of which two got up and walked out before the conclusion. The setting was perfect for a theatrical journey based around sexual imagery and Noe's propensity for making audience members uncomfortably entertained by melancholy tones and surreal shades of humanity's seedy underbelly.  

Creator and visual genius Gaspar Noe delivers another sensory masterpiece with his latest release Love. Much like a harder edged, modern relationship driven, excess based version of Eyes Wide Shut, Noe is on point with a film that will stimulate your erotic nerve center while offering up a dark tale of one man's journey and struggle through love lost. While the film has been given notoriety for its non-simulated sex acts and notoriously graphic scenes of ejaculation, orgies, a stunningly shot three way, and some of the most beautifully rendered portraits of sexuality ever delivered on film, Noe actuates and never comprises in his ethereal vision of modern love gone awry. To his defense, some of the lower scored reviews fail to recognize the charismatic and realistic performances he draws from his actors here. Love is one of the best of 2015 and falls perfectly in line with his other divine works, Irreversible and Enter The Void. 

Seeing this in the same place it was shot added an extra amount of realism to the picture. Walking the same streets as these characters brought a heightened sense of shared space and made the film seem all the more convincing. With little known actors that serve their roles extremely well and actresses that never hesitate to bare their emotions and their bodies, Love doesn't seems false or predicated by the pornography its been accused of. Instead, it feels ripe with human characteristics that you either sympathize with or feel no compassion for. The male lead Murphy is a repulsive sex addict that can't keep his man parts where they belong and the women he loves are beautiful flawed creatures that can't find their way. As usual, Noe paints a distinct and depressing portrait on his favorite canvas while creating a touch of mystery, sensually charged sensory overload, and color schemes highly reminiscent of his other films. 

"I hate bath time! It's hard to reach
all those places!!!"
Where Love will falter with most audiences is in Noe's unflinching dedication to his art. The sex scenes here are unedited, unfiltered, and feature numerous scenes of non-simulated ejaculation, sex in public, graphic penis shots throughout, and a nearly non-stop assault of female penetration. Going in prepared, it's an acceptable presentation of sexuality in real life and comes across less like porn and more as Noe's intriguing artistic perception of love versus lust.  Unlike the poorly conceived Fifty Shades of Grey film version, Love actually delivers the amount of sex it promises and (like usual) Noe never compromises his ingenuity as a film maker for a quick buck. Love is a deeply wound, underground film, that will get the respect it deserves from those that have already caught on to Noe's stylistic and inventive filming techniques. 

Once again, Noe goes against the grain, setting himself apart from the movie system that he wants nothing to do with. Love is not perfect. Love is not kind. Love can be confusing and heartbreaking. And Noe puts that all on film with a movie that doesn't let up even in its final moments. Leaving the cinema, you may still be questioning the acts you've seen and you'll definitely be considering the elements which lead up to the emotive and inventively heart wrenching conclusion. If anything, Love is something you should experience for yourself. Just remember to wear protection because Love can get downright dirty.


- CG

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