People talk about meet-cutes in films as overly impossible romantic scenarios that have little reflection on real life. When Lenz and Ira catch each other’s eye, it’s over a giant rooftop bonfire at sunrise, during the wind-down from a party. Burnt sunglasses are melting on his face and she’s stroking the head of her friend, who is tripping out from too much MDMA. A far more likely scenario for most young, intoxicated and curious souls.
This lustful fable begins as any other love affair; sexually charged and playful, a teasing dance to weave out each other’s traits and moods; attempting to navigate this influx of oxytocin. Lenz (Eric Klotzsch) is a drifter of sorts, entering into his 30s with the youthful abundance of a kid and doted upon by his family. He becomes engulfed in this whirlwind romance, left hanging for weeks at a time by Ira (Lana Cooper) who mysteriously disappears into the Middle East for work. Their summer of love becomes even more tedious as 40-year-old Ira begins to discuss children, causing Lenz even more indecisiveness than he began with.
There is a charming humour to the film, which is supplemented by quirky transitions and Lenz’s timely premonitions of men from Ira’s life. As if someone had pressed pause to have a brief philosophical discussion of events at that moment in their lives, an apparition of a soldier, even the captain from a cruise ship surrounding the history of the missing Malaysian airlines flight – these apparitions give it a perceptive narrative and historical time frame structure. Does he want to disappear into the abyss as the flight does, swallowed up and so avoiding accountability? But then wanting to swoop up Ira and face the situation of the hero/anti-hero complex by giving into her desires. These individual moments lace the story together like a ribbon, slightly fraying in obscurity but tied together nonetheless. The cinematography is equally as beautiful in that sense, gentle panning across the town as the hungover couple saunter through lost in their hazy romance, to the still ground up shots of them in the woods camping, almost as a time lapse of their night, the blooming trees fading into the chromatic dark as the flames hissed into the sky. There is beauty in simplicity, dripped into the minds of the audience, which this piece is soaked in beautifully.
I find Lenz almost bratty at times, vocalising his frustrations and moping about like a Labrador that his friends pander to. Frequently limping around, howling like a beaten stray at Ira going away to Peshwar, transitioning into a defensive mongrel when she tries to speak seriously about the future. But this becomes more understandable after meeting his ghastly and obnoxious father, whose perception of women is so completely outdated and misogynistic. He warms to Ira’s enigmatic charm as she patiently, and almost humorously, allows the slight digs at her age and beauty. For a film that appears to pride itself on being subtle, a gentle walkthrough of life, these other relationships at times feel slightly dramatised. There does not need to always be definitive ‘good and bad’ characters in a film, humans are an ensemble of both these characteristics which in turn the film manages to signify well. There are definitely ways in which the audience can relate to both of them at times of indecision and faced with iotas of change. Yet it is still very much positioned in a way you don’t feel strongly about them acting in certain ways, you are made to feel very comfortable as the audience, an onlooker – knowing whatever decision they make will be because it is what they wanted in that moment and changing the course of their futures is just the way that life works.
Grilling, uncensored passion that eloquently explores the development and growth of a relationship in a compacted, unrushed unashamed tumbleweed of emotions. It is exactly what it says on the carton – a love story, mundane at times but in a way that comfortably understands itself and doesn’t shy away from it. It serves as an understated reminder that while the four letter word of ‘love’ is perhaps the most complicated feeling in our universe, that glow when you feel it is undeniable, and you surely let that warmth fill you during LOVE MOVIE.