Friday, July 31, 2015

NZIFF 2015: Film 25; LOVE 3D

Gaspar! remember what the Beatles said? "All you need is LOVE, LOVE is all you need". Take note...

Whats it about? Murphy gets told by his girlfriend she is pregnant with their second child, which sends Murph into a deep funk as he realises that he still hasn't gotten over Electra - his Parisian ex-girlfriend. Next thing, Electra's mother calls to say that she hasn't heard from her and she's extremely worried about her mental state...

When I heard that this provocative, boundary pushing explicit drama filmed by Gaspar Noe was headed for the festival, my first thought was, I can handle films like this, films that push at the very thin edge of what is acceptable (or not!) for mainstream audiences.

How bad? Or good? Could this be?


From what I thought I was going to see, and from what I experienced, I gotta admit, there was a gulf in expectation and the hard-core reality. I'm not gonna lie, I may have seen the odd thing or two on the internet over the years, so viewing something like this wasn't going to be hard to watch. What intrigued me was to see how the potentially explosive combination of hardcore sex, (in 3D no less!) and a conventional drama, would be handled by the person I anticipated would add his signature visual flourishes to create a work of art that would stand the test of time.

Hello reality. Reality is a cold harsh mistress sometimes, sharply reminding you of just who is firmly in charge. Gaspar, I gotta say this - A golden opportunity missed. At 134 extremely long minutes, we had to suffer through one of the most excruciating characters ever committed to film, well pixels in this case. Murphy is unequivocally, without question, one of the most narcissistic, self-centered, whiny, repulsive, obnoxious, repugnant and thoroughly unlovable screen characters. Ever. He so needed what you gave the guy in "Irreversible" - a beating to death with a fire extinguisher. Considering though, that is exactly how you intended the character to appear on screen, then I really am scratching my head wondering if you decided to title your movie "LOVE", where the f*%k was it?

Lets call a spade a spade here. Even the f&$%ing wasn't that great. It was mechanical, perfunctory. Sure, thanks for seeing what sex looks like from the inside of a woman (tick that off the list of things seen), and seeing a few jazz shots here and there. I've seen more humanity in an internet video where the passion, sex, and lust is patently obvious, it's written all over the faces of the real people who love to share their most personal and intimate experiences with a few billion others. That's something you sorta tried to recreate, but fell incredibly short of. By a country mile in fact.

In summing up, I'm happy that at least I can write with some degree of knowing what I'm talking about, I've watched the film from to start to finish. Gaspar, mate, I say this as someone who thinks you are a vital part of this industry, consider this next thought seriously.

Here's a suggestion for your follow up into this foray of 'sex-as-a-mainstream film' business.
  • Title: The Joy of Sex (Sex is Joy!). Something expressing the positive joy of sex is a good place to start.  
  • No "Murphy" type characters whatsoever. 
  • Real people shapes, flabby-ish, untoned bodies.
  • Average looks.
  •  No more than 90-100 minutes.
  • Real passion, real lust. 
  • Maybe use internet amateurs who are already well established in this type of practice. Trust me on this point - there's plenty out there! I could give you some suggestions... (wink wink, nudge nudge!).
I didn't hate LOVE, but equally, I didn't love LOVE either...

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