Arthouse director Zhang Lu goes experimental with his latest work, the loosely connected omnibus film Love and..., which features major Korean stars in a coy deconstruction of the Korean film industry.
The film kicks off with a black and white segment of a daughter visiting her father in a clinic, which then turns to color when it is revealed to be a film within a film. With heavyweights such as Ahn Sung-ki, Moon So-ri and Park Hae-il, this is the most digestible portion of the film, as subsequent chapters become increasingly elliptical and less reliant on plot. Zhang playfully experiments with form while he muses on his own industry, but while visually striking and always intriguing, the final product may prove to be a difficult experience for most viewers.
Things come full circle in the final sequence, which repeats the opening segment through a series of framed shots of the set with no actors, while the dialogue we previously heard repeats over it. An interesting exercise that offers some curious insights, Love and... channels a potent love of cinema in the search of an answer to an important question. A gaffer tells the director in the first segment: “You don’t know what love is,” and Zhang shows us a different version of love through all four segments of the film, though deliberately stops short of providing us with anything concrete. As a think piece Love and... may prove trying, but it works better when viewed as a love letter to Zhang’s chosen craft.
—Pierce Conran (Producer at 2Mr Films, film critic)