director Gaspar Noé
viewed: 11/11/2015 at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, SF, CA
After watching Gaspar Noé’s amazing Enter the Void (2009) at home on DVD, I utterly kicked myself for having not gone to see it on the big screen. I vowed that the next of his films I would most definitely go and see on the big screen.
This was tempered somewhat when I heard that his new film was to be a 3-D film featuring heavy doses of unsimulated sex.
Now, I’m not exactly a prude, but I can oddly enough lay claim to the fact that I had attended a 3-D porn film once in my life. The opportunity arose and seemed like one of those rarities that don’t show up every day. So, yes, in some ways, I’ve kind of been there and done that.
The film does indeed feature a lot of sex. Somewhat like Noé’s Enter the Void, we are in the head of another character here. In Enter the Void we saw entirely through the eyes of the character, even more than half the film after he is dead and a disembodied spirit. Here, we don’t so much see through the eyes of Murphy (Karl Glusman) but we are in his head, listening to his thoughts as he has to recollect the ruinous relationship that was the love of his life with a girl named Electra (Aomi Muyock). The story is told through ranging flashbacks, detailing the general lameness of Murphy and the way he totally blew everything.
This story isn’t nearly as head trippy nor interesting as Enter the Void. And though Noé employs a distinct aesthetic, it’s nowhere as ambitious or bizarre. At times it’s just annoying and/or boring.
It’s also oddly self-reflexive. Murphy is a film student whose apartment is decorated with film paraphernalia galore and seems a stand-in in some ways for Noé. But then Noé actually shows up in the film as the ex-lover of Electra, a sleazy art dealer. And then Murphy ends up naming his baby Gaspar. I guess all this seems to imply how much of Noé’s self is here.
Noé’s films are all usually very hard to watch, either repellent or just some amazing cinematic trauma, not the kind of things you want to go back and watch again, no matter how amazing they were in the moment. In this way, Love is well in line.
But it was also the first of his films I actually don’t think I liked. The first one that I wished was over before it was over (it’s 135 minutes long — and if you’re curious, that is a long time to sit through a 3-D film featuring graphic sex and unlikable characters).