By Ariana Hwang
“This is like ‘Enter the Void.’ You have to watch,” my over eager friend suggested towards the link he shared over Facebook chat. Suddenly I grinned, not taking the idea too seriously that A$AP Rocky could even venture to rap over something as immoderate and unbounded as Gaspar Noe-like visuals. The nauseating strobe lights, spiraling cameras, combined with graphic and overflowing psychedelic imagery flashed back into my memory of the night I couldn’t bear to watch the entire film through one sitting. I couldn’t be exaggerating if presenters at film festivals have previously and constantly warned that anyone with epilepsy shouldn’t think to attend a screening. A bad choice, I testify, if you’re the easily squeamish, exclusively light-hearted, rom-coms all day, filmgoer type, which I sometimes am.
Remarkably, my brain didn’t metamorphose to spaghetti. L$D was at best, a soothingly mild piece of art, dazzling enough to be considered nonetheless cinematic. As a viewer you’re instantly pulled in whirls towards a quite relaxed and dazed A$AP. You’re taken by exploration and immersion into A$AP’s surreal, hallucinogenic outer body experience, situated in the luminous Tokyo. Alongside A$AP is the girl he’s mooning about, pining for her intimacy. Arguably the girl can assume the form of a drug, a competing love interest up against the actual drug. Or maybe, LSD amplifies his feelings for her. Or LSD had really caused him to envision her existence, since she poofs away from the balcony, leaving A$AP alone and companionless, while we’re also left to ponder from an ambiguous ending. Is A$AP trying to depict the consequence of loneliness after consuming a drug from personal experience or merely expanding his work through artificial enhancements like many other artists? As if we too were under the influence, we seem able to invent what we want to think.