Love and Bruises is Chinese controversial director Lou Ye's latest production. Based on the adaptation of Liu Jie Falin's 'Bitch', Lou tells a love story that is not covered in a bed of roses, but lust and bruises. Newcomer Corrine Yam and Tahir Rahim (A Prophet) takes the leading role of the lover in question, who suffers more bruises in the relationship than feels the love.
Yam plays Hua, a Beijing student who met an accident along the road. Mathieu (Rahim), the worker who accidentally bumps on Hua, apologizes to Hua by taking her to a dinner. The dinner ends up a date rape, where Hua was raped by Mathieu. Feeling a sense of guilt, Mathieu takes Hua home, which ends up both of them falling into a love relationship that is filled with lust. Hua is the victim in the relationship, where she was abused by Mathieu, both physically and emotionally. When Hua decided to end the relationship, Mathieu realizes that Hua is the love of his life, which he will do anything to salvage the broken relationship, even if it means divorcing his current wife so as to marry Hua.
Once again, Lou Ye explores the painful relationship that leads to no happy ending, which can be seen in Summer Palace (2006) and Spring Fever (2009). Sex is the main theme of Love and Bruises, which sees how a couple getting together just to satisfy their sexual needs than emotional needs. The plot for Love and Bruises is similar to Summer Palace, except it is summarized in the backdrop of modern day Paris and Beijing with a twist in the plot.
While Love and Bruises explores the love and sexual relationship between a couple from different countries and different races, the plots seems to be aimless, which audience can be left lost in translation. The main focus of the film seems to focus more on the sexual relationship between Hua and Mathieu, rather than what the couple did to salvage the damaged relationship. In many areas, audience are left with blanks to fill in, rather than be told what happened in between. The movie also lacks a clear explanation on how what makes Hua taking the submissive role in the relationship, and Mathieu the more aggressive one.
To sum up, Love and Bruises leaves the audience with some bruises with a bitter aftertaste, which it may explains why love relationship may not always be a bed of rose. However, the wounds will heal with more love being showered in the relationship. Just like the movie, more love can be shown so that audience will not feel much bruises.
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