After decades of watching all kinds of traumatic films, I'm pretty desensitized. Not many filmmakers can make me squirm, or feel uneasy. In fact, it's a rare treat when I see something that throws me off balance. French filmmaker Gaspar Noe is a director who always surprises me. He seems to have no boundaries, no taboos - no limits! And it's this sense of courage that makes him one of my favourites.
Noe is as badass a filmmaker as they come. He’s effortlessly controversial. His films are fearless and confrontational. Not only this, but the way he moves a camera, the way the lighting/sets are designed, his films are beautifully hypnotic, as if being drawn into vortex (Enter the Void and Irreversible both have floating travelling shots).
His body of work has a cohesive and always evolving style. You can just tell you're watching a Noe film: Palpable tension, painterly frames, understated dialogue, touches of philosophy, his brash command of the soundscape, and cool as hell titles.
It’s no coincidence that Harmony Korrine hired Gaspar’s DOP Benoit Debie for the candy colored, gorgeously shot film Spring Breakers.
The last time Gaspar’s film played at TIF was the first person POV feature film Enter The Void (2009). This was not just a film, but a mind-altering experience! Check out the opening title sequence to get an idea of what I mean:
Approaching a Noe film, it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect. He’s no stranger to horror either, with his deeply scarring film Irreversible (if you like labels: a great example of cinema of transgression)--which made waves with it’s brutal depiction of rape and revenge, in a story told backwards to great effect.
To say that he's all shock would be a misrepresentation. Perhaps the most effective part of Irreversible's infamous rape scene (mild spoiler alert) was that an out of focus passerby stumbles upon it and witnesses the act for a few moments, turns away, and LEAVES! It's subtle touches that take the overtly disturbing to a whole new level of emotional devastation.
|The red world of Noe|
This year Noe returns to the Vanguard program with the brazen Love, which, while I have been avoiding exact story information — is no doubt already controversial with it’s eye popping, unblinking sexual depictions, and word of mouth! Add to this, it's in 3D!
LOVE Final Screening:
Thurs. Sept. 17, 6:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 1