Cannes 2015: Emotionally hollow 3D provocation from Gaspar Noé
At one point in Argentinean provocateur Gaspar Noé’s sexually explicit, 3D-rendered story of lost love, the main character Murphy (Karl Glusman) proclaims that movies should be about 'blood, sperm and tears.' It’s a sentiment Noé takes to the extreme with a stereoscopic ejaculation shot and feverish, tangled scenes of real sex. But in his quest to break boundaries he forgets about the importance of injecting Love with a sufficient supply of emotional honesty, forsaking the latter for screeching melodrama and juvenile humour.
Noé frames his repetitive penetration scenes within a narrative of woe. We meet Murphy as he awakes from a bad trip, his partner Omi (Klara Kristin) lying next to him and his child crying for their attention. A voicemail from his ex-girlfriend's mother alerts him to the fact that Electra (Aomi Muyock) is missing. And so begin the hallucinatory flashbacks to his previous relationship, as we come to learn that he's a selfish man, full of regrets and pent-up aggression.
In the same way that Noé uses Murphy as a mouthpiece for his artistic intentions (there is absolutely no subtlety here), his sets act as self-indulgent reminders of his past glory. The sex hotel from Enter the Void exists proudly in Murphy’s bedroom, and he again employs editing that makes the screen blink like the human eye.
Not only that but he appears as an art gallery owner, gifting himself a full head of hair, and slyly naming a newborn Gaspar. He also litters the film with references to landmarks in cinematic history - for instance, posters of Salò and The Birth of a Nation adorn Murphy’s wall. Love is a rigorously produced but ultimately empty experience, complete with a splattering of nods to Noé’s personal journey as a firebrand filmmaker.
Screening as part of Cannes 2015. General release TBC.