Cannes: Explicit Drama ‘Love’ Shocks With 3D Sex and Nudity

Love,” one of the most buzzed-about selections at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, premiered on Wednesday night as part of this year’s midnight section. Gaspar Noe’s relationship drama, which just as easily could have been called “Lust,” made headlines before it screened because of its explicit sex scenes.

The Cannes audience got an eyeful, and not just because the film was shot in 3D. “Love” pushes the envelope even further than Lar von Trier’s unrated “Nymphomaniac,” and makes “Fifty Shades of Grey” look like “Pillow Talk.”

The movie from Argentinian director Noe (“Irreversible”) features real sex (or what appears to be actual sex) with full frontal nudity — there are many close-up shots of genitalia — oral sex, intercourse and ejaculation. An orgy scene toward the end of the film is reminiscent of “Eyes Wide Shut,” only the actors are nude and aroused.

There’s also two threesome scenes: one involving a 17-year-old next door neighbor and another with a transgender woman. The latter encounter is perhaps the only love scene in the film that couldn’t be mistaken for pornography.

But despite “Love’s” fearlessness when it comes to the human body, it’s really meant to expose an emotional truth: The act of falling in love is destructive and painful. The story is told through flashbacks (a la “Blue Valentine”) as Murphy (Karl Glusman) receives a phone call that his ex-girlfriend Electra (Aomi Muyock) is missing.

He’s bored of his marriage to Omi (Klara Kristin), and the movie jumps back and forth in time as we see Murphy and Electra fall madly in love, and slowly drift apart. Murphy is still obsessed with Klara and can’t stop imagining the life they could have shared, if fate had been kinder to them.

After “Love” ended at around 3 a.m., the audience peeled off their 3D glasses to deliver a thunderous standing ovation inside the Palais. “Love” will be distributed by Alchemy in the United States, and it’s a safe bet that the MPAA (if given the chance to rate it) would award the feature a hard NC-17. Even the movie’s posters are NSFW.

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