“Love”: love more than sex, Gaspar Noé sees

The memory of a love story told in its sex scenes: Gaspar Noé reveals himself as his actors in this unique, shocking and touching film.

On January 1, Murphy received a message on his answering machine: Electra’s mother was worried because she hadn’t heard from him for several weeks. Who is Electra? The woman Murphy fell in love with, with whom he had a burning love and was then released.

Now, Murphy lives with a young woman where he has a child, but it’s not the life he wants-he would have been a fling and that damn condom wouldn’t have broken. ”So, in the mixture of guilt and anxiety, Murphy will remember his history with Electra.

Love is immediately under the sign of this nostalgia for wasted love, and this leap in time for Gaspar Noé is the opportunity to create a mental puzzle in which all the pieces become sex -oriented images. – before, during and after. That’s the sublime paradox on which the film is built: as it sinks into Murphy’s brain, it brings back bodies, flesh, joy, happiness.

And as his hero climbs against the four walls of his apartment, obscured by traces of the past similar to the character of the author himself (a poster of Salo, the model of the love hotel in Enter the void), the -dink in his memory opens up more space, until this beautiful encounter where two future lovers seduce each other by leaving their group at the height of a park to walk alone in the green the road.

Noah, alone against all

“Time can ruin everything”.

We are reminded of this aphorism written in large letters at the end of Irréversible, a film narrated upside down, from the hell of the present to the lost paradise of the past.

For Gaspar Noé, cinema is the best weapon to avoid this death. If we could still find this philosophical statement useless at the time, Love came to explain its most personal foundations; because Murphy is obviously the filmmaker’s alter ego, who won’t stop putting himself in the play, if he doesn’t manage himself, in his film.

Murphy is a film student, his son is called Gaspar, his ex is Lucille (like Lucille Hadzihalilovic, filmmaker and a time companion of Noé) and he himself plays the role of a boorish owner in the gallery, Electra’s former lover feels like Murphy. severe jealousy.

It can only be a small game of knowing the flashes – like producer Vincent Maraval’s performance as a cop skilled at swinger parties – it’s really more than that: a way of revealing, of proving that everything that happens on screen is not only real-non-simulated sex, autobiographical notation-but above all it embodies the essence of the project led by Gaspar Noé since its inception, which is the filming of stories of love lost over time as the power of cinema succeeds in reviving.

The incest executioner in Alone Against All, the party animal in Irréversible who takes revenge on his raped wife, or the junkie in Enter the Void who tries to recreate beyond death the bond that binds him to his brother, all Murphys already, but more than that, all reflect Noé’s personality: a great romance hidden behind a face of darkness and defiance.

Thoughtful melody of pornography

However, Love is not provocative. However, Noé never flirts to such an extent with restrictions: the first scene sets the tone, as we see Murphy and Electra masturbate in a static shot from the upper lasting at the time of coitus – or at least, at the orgasm of the boy. What is shocking is not the frontal representation of sex, but the tenderness in Noé’s view of it: it is a peaceful, peaceful image, in which one spends time contemplating bodies and movements, and ‘there is no evil. trying to indulge in pornography.

This is what happens with every sexual encounter in the film, even if they go to explore more disturbing facts – swinging, threesome, quick sex in the bathroom at a drunken party. Each speaks to the state of a relationship by the way in which the bodies unite or reject each other; for Noah, love shows where you are in your love for someone.

And if it is necessary to put a label on Love, it is contemplative porn melodrama – categories that are not the opposite of that, but whose union shows how unique the film is.

Noé can do almost without words – the dialogues are just an everyday little talk, more so than in his previous films, which is not an easy thing but a style. – as his visual choices tell all about the link that unites Murphy and Electra. Even 3D ended up making sense: when Murphy filmed with his tiny video camera, the stereoscopy became more realistic, less stylish.

This is because the look of the character is not the same; the young man’s enthusiasm in front of his muse gives way to the adult’s spleen idealizing and smoothing out the past that doesn’t want to pass.

At one last particularly heartbreaking movement, everything ends up coming together, and this spleen invades the screen. There was something broken in Murphy’s life, that could no longer be undone, and after thinking about his mistakes, all he had to do was cry bitter tears. It’s also Noah’s last development in relation to himself: because he enjoys the double ego of satisfying his own pleasure by denying the desire of others to lose Murphy to Electra.

Bold claim from a filmmaker who has long been accused of misogynism: here, it’s the men who behave like bastards and the women who suffer from it. And only the cinema can choose – for a moment – the pieces.

> By Gaspar Noé (Fr, 2h14) with Karl Glusman, Aomi Muyock, Klara Kristin…
Released July 15

By Christophe Chabert at petit-bulletin.fr

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