First Comes Love consists of perfectly choreographed scenes of four wedding ceremonies accompanied by a complex medley of popular love songs. All seems to be going as it should until the couples reach the altar, when the celebratory atmosphere is interrupted for a surprising public service announcement.
Then the song and dance continues until the happy couples depart, leaving behind a dwindling crowd and a few altar boys who carefully sweep up the rice that blankets the pavement like snow. The film doesn't attempt to defendor discreditthe institution of marriage. Instead, it reveals the many subtle emotions surrounding the event, and raises questions about how the double standard regarding marriage affects gay and straight couples.
"Throughout, Friedrich keeps a gracious distance, building a critique that doesn't patronize the very real, very naked emotion she captures. A virtuoso of clarity, Friedrich recasts the personal as political, makes the public curiously intimate. In her hands, a slow pan to a discarded box of Carolina Rice is both poignant and absurd, a fit coda to a ceremony of privilege that's at once desired and denied."
"A work of nuance and irony...gently yet forcefully asking the viewer to deal with questions of commitment and love and the public announcement of them."
Selected Film Festival Screenings: