There are traces of intimacy in Gasapar Noé’s latest Love (2015), which finds itself contradictory with its title. Noé’s treats each argument between the characters with such grandeur that the emotions emanating from the characters feel secondary, and the surface level appearance becomes the primary focus. Love’s narrative progression highlights the refracting element that the protagonist Murphy (Karl Glusman) continually experiences, pushing the audience to experience Murphy’s opium trip that reverts back in time with his former girlfriend Electra (Aomi Muyock).
The visual and narrative scheme Noe devises in Love is key to understanding the spectacle he hopes to achieve: a sense of psychological insight that is dominated by the physicality of the objects within the frame. Noé ceaselessly demonstrates a self awareness of his treatment of his characters alongside the central subject matter as placeholders for him to examine the method of his film making practices. This is highlighted several times within the film, as Murphy is an aspiring filmmaker that hopes to create films that are unbounded by superficiality of cinematic convention and are closer to reality. However, Love utilizes cinematic conventions such as 3D to amplify the artifice of its visual parameters; a close ups of a penis ejaculating towards the screen demonstrates the intended use of 3D- to create a greater sense of depth. This scene is an emphasis the use of spectacle within the film, while contrasting with similar uses of 3D to greater effect earlier in the film: Murphy and Elektra laying down on one another while smoking and the smoke blows towards the audience, drawing our attention towards the smoke, seemingly descending down on us. DOP Benoît Debie frames the characters on a fixed geometric plane that often frames the back of the characters head as the central point of focus, denying the audience access to their frontal facial reaction. Noé knowingly plays with codified psychological cinematic elements, such as the one highlighted. in order to distant the audience from the character’s internal psychological facade, while bringing closer attention towards the structure of the visual and narrative elements that build up Love.
Love portrays a relationship that has already disintegrated right from the beginning of the film; the newfound relationship bounded between Murphy and Electra is chronologically positioned as the finale, offering the audience a chance to witness a moment without the burden of their past, as the film continually reinforces that their past will be part of them.