first a right, then a left shows the artist being tattooed on both hands by a professional tattoo artist. The viewer only sees the artists' hands and those of the tattooist at work. The tattoo artist is seen tattooing the letters L O V E on the top of the right hand fingers, just below the hand knuckles. He then moves down to the lower part of the artists' fingers, just above the finger nail knuckles, and tattoos the four letters T H E N. After completing the right hand, the letters H A T E are tattooed on the left hand fingers, just below the hand knuckles. Although the word tattoo is used to describe the process in the film, there is no ink in the needle - the open wound will be the only evidence.
The idea of having LOVE tattooed on ones body, going through the pain to express something, is a romantic notion. Equally to have HATE tattooed may also suggest a passionate approach. Traditionally tattoos of this description may have different cultural meanings. They may have been chosen by skinheads or Hells Angels for example and remain permanent visuals. In this film however, the sentiments are not permanent and just like the tattoos on the skin, in time disappear.
The viewer will be able to see a narrative unfolding. The story of love often involves a feeling of deep commitment including raw emotions of happiness and pain. As the tattooist makes the letters in turn, the skin begins to bleed. By performing this piece, the film is a representation of that commitment – it symbolises the giving of oneself – all or nothing, giving blood. The idea of the blood seeping and breaking the surface of the skin further enhances this notion and references a feeling of pain.
In this story, the film ends with HATE – literally speaking of course, but again is intended to represent the experience of everything turning sour, it all going wrong and becoming abhorrent.