By Heinrich Domingo
Love is reserved for those courageous enough to dive in to the pit of the uncomfortable. It is exclusive for the brave hearts who are willing to understand films without inhibitions.
The film tells the story of young lovers Murphy (played by Karl Glusman) and Electra (Aomi Muyock) set in the romantic backdrop of France. The two lived their heyday through sexual explorations and drugs. And to further gratify their fantasies, they invited a girl named Omi (Klara Kristin) for a three-way carnal relationship. Everything was going well until Murphy and Omi cheated on Electra resulting in an unwanted pregnancy. Murphy is then haunted by guilt and is painfully reminded by the wild and enjoyable life he had with his former girlfriend.
As the story progresses, audience are presented with multitude forms of love-making. Bodies of men and women are artfully displayed on the screen in an effort to provide an in-depth understanding of commitment, attachment, and trust. While the camera zooms in to the intimate body parts, viewers become engaged in the sexual experience of the characters in front of them. They can taste the body juices, inhale the sweat, and feel the arousal brought by being in the film.
Love is brave in narrating the clichéd topic of love using taboo images. While sex scenes flood the storyline, every single act is necessary. Every copulation was meant to signify a life phase. Each is a discovery. And each is meant to know the characters deeper.
While sex is the central theme of the movie, the characters’ conversations make us rethink on our concept of partnership. The film contains various discussions on self-exploration and discovery. And since lines seemed not to be strictly bound by the script, viewers can catch a glimpse of a relationship that many of us would never have. This movie might not be the cup of tea for everyone. But the chance to see a film that is willing to bare it all is seldom.
I see Love more as Gaspar Noé’s personal project than a film. His depiction of intense love is an alternative from the sweet, subtle, and romantic portrayal of Hollywood. Yet, reading the film deeper, it is not meant to offer another perspective. Rather, it is meant to raise questions on how the public has been accustomed to separate sex and love. Popular romance films exclaim love while shunning down sex and lovemaking. And since media developed this false dichotomy, then we can be hopeful that cinema pieces like Love continue to question these established norms.