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Manuel de Layet [Celluloid 05.27.15] France drama experimental arthouse



This one is... special.

Initially, my stance on this film was "even the most scathing review would be giving exposure to something that should never have see the light of day". Yet the sheer mediocrity exuding from every frame of this miserable, two-hour documentary on mongrel apes rutting and eating their own feces is clogging my thought process. One of those low budget ones where names are given to the creatures so you can shed a tear when Bobby the gnu gets mauled by Ursula the crocodile.

This experience is a boil on my mind and I have to lance it before writing about the good movies of this festival.

In case you've missed what Love is all about here's the synopsis: “January 1st, early morning. The telephone rings. Murphy wakes up next to his young wife and 2-year-old-boy. He listens to his voicemail. mother, sick with worry, wants to know whether he has heard from her daughter. Electra's been missing for a long time. She's afraid something really bad has happened to her. Over the course of an endless rainy day, Murphy finds himself alone in his apartment, reminiscing about the greatest love affair of his life, his two years with Electra. A burning passion full of promises, games, excesses and mistakes...”

Word of advice: when the a synopsis is written like the team effort of a third grade classroom, give the final product a wide berth.

This one is nevertheless a fair description of the overall experience of the film. Short visual sentences, jumbled together to make a hint of a story. Repeating themselves ad nauseum. This feels like the work of a kid overdosing on Pulp Fiction. Who knew Tarantino could do this kind of extensive damage to someone...

I'm convinced Noe can't tell a story to save his life, and the same gimmicks have been used since Carne. You get the voluntary misfit characters, the perpetual close-ups so we can almost see their uvulas, or the minute details of their neck, while their self-deprecating inner monologue toll around as they potter about from bad decision to utter stupidity in whatever succession of scenes we're shown to passively witness.

If I recall correctly, Noe's initial stance was to shock the bourgeoisie. What is left of them in France? I wonder. This kind of pseudo artistic drive fells trite and boring when the artist is past his 15th birthday. And given the topics of this particular film, he actually achieved to become exactly what he was so hell bent on disparaging. Greatest example is this: for all the dicks, real, bad quality silicon and even worse cgi, there is an extremely puritanical approach to the female genitalia. Mons, clitoris and labia are hidden behind hair so thick it makes Amateur Teen Kingdom models a study on female pubic alopecia.

Oh and of course, the only point of the use of 3D in this movie, was throwing atrociously bad cgi spunk at the face of the audience. I mean, come on. Grow up, for fuck's sake.

Why do I persist in actually going to Gasper Noe's films ? Nostalgia for my own teenage years when having seen "carne" was was almost required for artistic credibility at my fine arts school? In a rare flash of conscious thought the director claimed twelve year-olds should see this movie, and I agree completely with that statement, as they are the only demographic who will appreciate how "edgy" the movie is.

If, as stated in the succinct brochure, this is a nostalgia trip aiming at giving Noe back the joy of his late teen years and is actually the closest he has been able to know existence, there's only one option for any viewer: pat him on the head condescendingly. Even pity would be a waste.



Recommended Release: Enter the Void





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