Game, Set, Match
Kicking off Persona’s four-part anthology series is Love Set, a surrealistic tennis match that acts as a metaphor of our warring emotions and conflicts than it does as a straight forward tale.
The story sees a girl named IU disgruntled with her Father for his relationship to fiance Doona. As she watches from the side, her Father and prospective wife spar together, trading hits in-sync with one another in a long, loud volley of hits. Greeted by her English male friend, IU watches on in silence with him as they play.
After the game, IU pleads with her Father not to get married to Doona which inevitably leads to the bad blood between her and Doona spilling over to the tennis court. Battling for their pride and vowing for IU’s Father’s affection, the two make a bet. A bet in which Doona intends to follow through with with ruthless conviction. Winning the game 4-0, Doona and IU slowly learn to respect one another on the pitch, leading to a touching moment late on before they finish the match with a newfound understanding for one another.
As a straightforward short film, Love Set is a little formulaic and bland, failing to establish much in the way of a compelling hook to really grab you. Artistically though, Love Set is a really interesting little film, one that plays out as a metaphor of our warring emotions and how we deal with conflict in our life.
When viewed through this lens, Love Set is actually quite a thought provoking film, backed up by a sickly sweet aesthetic and some unusual camera work. The multiple static shots while IU is sitting down contrasts beautifully with the quick flashes and overhead shots during the tennis game itself.
Given the quality of recent anthology successes, including Love, Death & Robots and South Korea’s excellent On Children, Persona is a much more intimate and artistic stab at this genre, one that begins as it means to go on, with a much more thought provoking and metaphorical look at emotions. It won’t be for everyone and it’s bound to alienate the masses but there’s a specific niche here that’s certainly going to resonate with some people.