Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Love (2015)

So on Saturday night, I pretty much watched The Peanuts Movie, took the Red Line up to Davis Square, and walked right into the theater showing Love. Since there was no glasses bin between the screen and the exit at Boston Common, I wound up using the same pair of glasses. In retrospect, that seems kind of inappropriate.

Very limited release on this one in the Boston area - just 10pm shows at the Somerville Theatre while the Boston Jewish Film Festival has the screen at 7, and just one mid-afternoon show a day in West Newton, that one in 2D. I was actually kind of surprised at that - I kind of thought this was along the lines of Farewell to Language, where you don't get it unless you play it in 3D. Odd that it plays Somerville instead of Kendall Square, but sometimes they're a little more adventurous.

I kind of wonder what the plus/minus for people seeing it because it's in 3D is. As much as I was kind of curious about seeing the new one from the guy who made Irreversible, I'd skipped Enter the Void because I'm not really that big on envelope-pushing stuff. But I dig 3D, even if I sometimes feel like I'm the only person who really likes movies who does sometimes. I especially love it when it shows up in something other than a big American action/animated movie, even if that sometimes means watching Goodbye to Language, which is what you might call boring if prone to understatement. Love does some nifty things with it, and I kind of hope other art-house filmmakers give it a try, even if it is a beast to shoot with.

Love (2015)

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 7 November 2015 in Somerville Theatre #5 (first-run, DCP/RealD)

It's almost a shame that Gaspar Noé apparently shot Love entirely in native 3D, because it might be fun to ask guys doing post-conversion work whether sex was a nice change of pace from the usual violence. That it was all shot this way, on the other hand, indicates that every action in this movie is done with purpose, which means that even when it's dragging a bit or shoving more in the audience's face than it might want, it's at least put together in an intriguing way.

It tells the story of Murphy (Karl Glusman), an American in Paris who came as a film student and is now raising a child with a lovely girl by name of Omi (Klara Kristin). Unfortunately, the true love of his life is probably Electra (Aomi Muyock), but she has been out of his life for some time - out of everyone's in fact, as her mother Nora has not heard from her in two months and is thus desperate enough to see if Murphy has been in contact with her.

There's not a whole lot of time spent on finding out what happened to Electra, or indeed in the film's present at all. Her disappearance mostly serves as a reason for Murphy to think back on the entire length of his tempestuous, intertwined relationships with her and Omi, and those familiar with Noé's work might find that framing work unnecessary, as his stepping back a bit further each time bears a certain amount of resemblance to Irreversible (he originally planned to make this film in the early 2000s with the cast he would use for Irreversible, but when they backed down from the unsimulated sex they changed plans and Noé filed Love away for later). It's a superficial similarity; both films move toward a happy beginning from a dark ending, but Love does so along a natural, well-marked path rather than the shocking context-shifting tragedy of its predecessor, and it's not nearly so straight a line back. Noé's goal here is less to surprise than examine, maybe unearthing how early the seeds for disaster were planted.

Full review on EFC.

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