Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Power of 'Love': A Visual Assault

The other day I opened my Netflix and found Gaspar Noe's mixed-reviewed film Love and, having heard the buzz regarding it's explicit depictions of sexuality that many question its merit as art, I knew I had to watch it.
The film follows the story of Murphy, a young 20-something American man that is self-indulgent to the core. While studying film in France, he meets a girl named Electra whom he dates for year before sleeping with another women, Omi, who becomes pregnant. The news ends the relationship between Murphy and Electra on a very devastating, intense note. Years later on a dreary day, Electra's mother calls Murphy to ask him if he has heard from Nora, because she has not and is worried given Nora's suicidal tendencies. The news causes Murphy to reminisce about their time together, time spend rich with shared drug use and sex.

The film is sensationalized for it's raw depictions of sex--which were unsimulated. Bordering between art and pornography, Noe manages to assault the senses with stunning visuals and, when it was shown at Cannes, its presentation in 3D. The effect is quite interesting, and leaves a "looking into a fishbowl" impression. Noé is so captivated by the idea of breaking the boundary between art and pornography that neither the story nor the sexuality "flows".  Some may be shocked by the hardcore scenes in Love, but there is barely any spontaneity or heat.

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