After last night’s dizzying, electric midnight premiere of the 3D laced-in-pornography “Love,” Argentinean-French shock-director Gaspar Noé was light and direct at today’s midday press conference, fending questions about sex, love and 3D. Accompanied by his actors, Karl Glusman, Aomi Muyock and Klara Kristin (the latter two actresses making their film debuts), and speaking mostly in French (with a few stray responses in English), Noé’s answers focused on feelings, censorship, and feelings on censorship. Below are the top highlights from the discussion.
Transgression (Or Lack Thereof) in “Love”
Answering a journalist’s question about transgression in “Love,” Noé said, “I don’t have the impression that there’s any transgression in the film,” and cited the precedents of Pasolini and Buñuel, remarking that ,”Many have gone this way, only I used a small 3D camera.” He elaborated further, “I made a film about life. Why not address these aspects? They’re part of the most wonderful moments of a person’s life… I was making a film about love, it wasn’t a film about Swiss banks or Scientology. The film is called love, so that’s what’s onscreen.”
“Something Childish About 3D”
“There’s something childish about 3D. It’s like a game. It’s hard to beat,” Noé explained. Using 3D actually started off as a joke for Noé, when someone two or three years ago said, “I bet his next film is going to be in 3D.” Wondering where to go after “Enter the Void,” (“What can I do which will amuse me?”), Noé toyed with the 3D idea, though didn’t put it in stone until three weeks prior to shooting, after he discovered that the French government offers state subsidies for 3D film work.
Shooting Intimate Scenes
Asked about the nude scenes (and there are many, and they are explicit), Noé stated, “I think that what’s important is what you see in the pictures, what you believe. I think within the group everyone laid down certain limits. You can only make a good film if everyone is happy to begin with.” First-time actress Klara Kristen opened up about her own body insecurities: “When I was young I had a lot of complexes about showing my body, even showing my body to my mother… Then it was like ‘What the fuck why? We’re all humans, we’re all beautiful. Why be ashamed?'” More bashful fellow actress Aomi Muyock began, “It’s natural. Not to be naked in front of people, but to be doing,” and then trailed off blaming poor English. Actor Karl Glusman jumped in and revealed his own gun-shy hesitation on the first day of shooting, starting on a close-up of his genitals. “In the bathroom, [I was] thinking I need to run to the airport and go back to America, [the end of] a very short career.”
Casting The Actors
Foregoing the typical process of casting agents, Noé found his actors through personal recommendation (as with Glusman, who he had apparently met in New York years before but Noé “didn’t remember that incident”) and chance meetings (Muyock at a party, Kristen in a nightclub). “I like to stop people in the streets and see a guy in a bar and say, ‘Hey, do you want to do a character in one of my films?'” And for “Love,” Glusman, Kristen, and Muyock “were courageous enough to say, ‘Yes,'” with the actresses being particularly brave considering “it was a new experience, they had never thought of doing this sort of thing, they never thought they would be here.”
What Their Families Think (And Whose Dad was on the Red Carpet)
When asked about what their friends and families think of them being in “Love,” Muyock said that the response of her friends and family has been positive as “when you love someone, you’re just happy that they’re happy.” Kloss discussed the difficulties of being in a relationship while filming this sort of movie, “There’s a lack of focus on your boyfriend. It’s hard not to give a 100% of your focus on your boyfriend.” Glusman quipped, “My mother was not a virgin when I met her… She’s very proud, especially as this film is playing at such a prestigious festival.” Noé actually recommended that he and the actors bring their parents to last night’s premiere. While none of the actors’ parents took the offer, Noé’s own father walked the red carpet and is still here attending Cannes.
On Censorship, By Age and Nationality
“I think it will be banned for those under 16…” Noé ventured. He went on to say that if he was part of the censorship committee, he wasn’t sure whether to set the age limit at 12 or 16, or whether there should be any ban at all as there’s nothing nasty in the film, or at least to his mind.
Comparing European and American sensibilities, Noé said that it’s “easier to show a sense of sensuality, erotic scenes, or whatever you call them” with a European audience “because they’re more open-minded” while pegging American distributors as “really square” and that the film “could never have happened in America.” When asked about the possibility of the film coming to India, Noé was at first dumbfounded and then answered glibly, “Maybe when people fly to Paris, they can watch it here.”
On The Pervasive Perversion of the Internet
Last month, a NSFW photo from “Love” hit the internet, the “champagne” shot, and it “suddenly went around the world and people thought that was the official film poster.” With that experience in mind, Noé compared social media and the internet to “a bomb exploding around the world.” And went on to reflect that the new generation just uses the internet, that it defines what is real for them and that that reality is filled with sexually explicit content. “If you look up “Love” on the internet, 50% of the images are pornographic… In this day and age, it’s impossible to stop sexually explicit images. You can’t fight what the world has become. It’s now a fact of life. That’s the way things are. On the contrary, you need to make sure sex is represented in a healthier way. I shouldn’t be [considered] schizophrenic for talking about love.”
What Didn’t Make the Premiere Cut
While Noé “like[s] the film as it is,” he revealed that “[t]here was one scene… involving ejaculation that we decided not to use,” and also one song that they just couldn’t get for the film, a little girl singing the Beatles’ “Long and Winding Road.”
On Distribution Plans and VOD
The film already has a release date of July 15, 2015 in France, with 60 or so theaters lined up. The production team are also looking forward to using VOD for international release, so “the film can be distributed without issues of anachronistic censorship.”