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CW: themes of drug abuse, death, sex, and violence.
Gaspar Noé is an Argentine filmmaker, living and filming in Paris. Born in Buenos Aires, he is the son of an Argentine painter, and moved with his family to France in 1976, due to the country’s political upheaval.
He has directed seven films. There will be reference to three in this article – Irréversible(2002), Love(2015) and Climax(2018). His work navigates the darkest aspects of human behavior, sex, violence, unraveled by love and even death. In 2020 he suffered from a brain aneurysm and nearly died. Later in the year, he started filming Vortex, a journey from addiction and drug abuse to sobriety.
He has become an integral part of French cinema, as his films initiated a dialogue around love, hate, and death. Gaspar Noe’s films have a global appeal and target the audience’s emotional response. The audience often faces his films’ complexities in experiencing tensions that leave them stunned, confused, and often hurt. Moreover, his music echoes their most intimate moments, accompanying them during the difficult days, and adding to their tenderness and endurance.
Noe’s Irréversible is one of his most acclaimed films that still relates to contemporary issues in our society. His poetics are gentle, yet violent, to ease the film’s appeal and accessibility. Its cultural importance is undeniable, as society changes and women open up about sensitive topics in an attempt to heal themselves. The irreversible, as stated in the title, carries their power despite the irreparable damage of societal shortcomings.
Love is intimate, erotic, and sensitive. It explores the violence, loneliness, and cruelty of love, bordering on pop culture themes. Noe saturates these polarities, contrasting feel-good colors and music against an uncomfortable and hard backdrop. Here, he had casted two children he met at a bar, whose debut was this large European production. Their honesty is disarming and identifies the audience with them and their relationship, without love being the sole topic.
Climax is one of Noe’s latest films, and centres on the Ballroom community. The uniqueness of the opening twenty minutes with their dancing, is perhaps the most well-crafted and sensitive portrayal of the scene. These wonderful people set up a seven-page story in an abandoned school that contains the violence, drugs, loss, and illusion the director loves to incorporate. Aesthetically speaking, this offers a beautiful spectacle, without it surpassing the two previous films.
Despite his brain hemorrhage injury and speculations of him losing his consciousness in 2021, the audience awaits to watch Vortex. There’s hope that Noe’s directing hasn’t lost his previous rawness and brutality in its depiction of the road to sobriety.
‘In ‘Climax’ there are all kinds of colours of skin, all kinds of genders, sexual preferences – but I don’t care, I chose my favourite dancers.’
This quote summaries his truth and how he separates himself from political correctness. He remains honest, spontaneous and talks about everything without fear but full of passion. This eloquent cynicism has created the films that people love.
Written by Nefeli Papanastasopoulou
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