Adam’s Arsenal and Georgian Outrage: Ogden on ‘Love’


Of all the things I love in my life, my wife comes first, closely followed by my 42-inch television. I never imagined that anything in this world would make me want to attack it with an axe and set fire to the remains until I saw Gaspar Noe’s ‘Love’.

With Russian soldiers to the north and Islamic militants to the south, you’d have thought that Georgian chat shows might have thought of something more important to argue about than a film. However, Noe’s movie caused a storm last week, with some branding it pornographic and an inappropriate abomination due to the explicit sex scenes, especially as they depict group sex, lesbian sex and sex with a seventeen year old girl. They contended that it does not, in fact, deserve to be called a film.

The people on the show demanded that the government block the film online (the government having recently shown how good they are at blocking videos of people playing two-backed beastie), apparently oblivious to the fact that many Georgians regularly watch the kind of thing that would be banned in Babylon.

Normally I’d now lay into Georgian hypocrisy, and I will, briefly; porn sites are the most visited websites in the country, and seventeen year olds getting married, while uncommon, is not unheard of: I recently met someone who married when she was fifteen, poor lass. Yet for once I agree with the ultra-conservative Georgians: this film is a crime against humanity.

Not that I’m a prude, you understand, or difficult to please. Give me a car chase, a gun fight, some hand-to-hand combat and a scene when Kevin Spacey looks at the camera and talks like a teacher explaining something to the class idiot, and I’m as happy as can be. I like dinosaurs, too.

So understand me when I say that I didn’t take offence at this film for quite the same reasons as the Georgian conservatives. While staring at Adam’s Arsenal isn’t my idea of the perfect Saturday evening, I’m partial to the female form, and nudity in film only bothers hypocrites and the overly religious (or both, now that I think about it). No, this film sucks (if you’ll pardon the pun) because of the dreadful script, the cringe-worthy acting, and the cliched whispery voiceovers. Its vain attempts at self-referential humour flop faster, I won’t write that.

I had a supporting role in a Georgian soap opera last year (you haven’t seen it; it seems not many people did apart from elderly women), and while I’d never call myself an actor, I did at least learn to appreciate when someone is very aware that they are on camera. One of my biggest problems with this film is the fact that the cast seem about as comfortable as a serial killer in a police interview still wearing his last victim’s skin.

With regards to the controversial sex scenes themselves, it was difficult for me personally to be aroused by anything in the film since the male character looked so much like the protagonist from Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and one of the female leads had fewer teeth than Mike Tyson.

The film is being interpreted differently, as you might expect. Some people think it encourages a liberal sex life, others believe it warns against it. I interpret it as a warning to filmmakers: hiring models with no acting experience desperate enough to do anything to get on the screen makes for an all-round bad movie.

If I wrote everything I felt about ‘Love’ then the police would probably get involved and arrest me for deviance. For my money, as a film it’s not good enough to get upset about, or half as bad as the things that are widely available on the Internet these days. Besides which, Georgia’s repression of all things sex has only made the taboo more attractive.

I’ve been in Georgia for six years, and I’ve been a Georgian citizen for three, and I’m beginning to share the Georgian love of being outraged for the sake of being outraged. My anger, however, is directed at the slow delivery of dialogue to show the viewer just how serious the characters are, and the hackneyed lines themselves, along with the total lack of plot. In addition, despite the film’s alleged realism, not once does anyone go to the toilet. Hopefully, the next Jason Bourne movie will restore my faith in the film industry.

Tim Ogden

31 March 2016 21:07