FILM REVIEW by Kristians Fukss

The fifth film by the Argentine filmmaker Gaspar Noé – a drug induced psychodelic dream with shocking, sometimes horrific turns.

 
The trailer back in summer made my favourite trailers list with its simple, yet unique structure – while showing just a few scenes from the film and not telling much about the story, it gave a gripping glance at what is to follow. Then came the posters. The one saying: “You despised I Stand Alone, you hated Irréversible, you loathed Enter the Void, you cursed Love, now try Climax”, made me super intrigued. Under the text, the director with a devil like smile, holding a cup of sangria, symbolising the film itself. The film, however, was a complete shock to me even though I have seen all of Noé’s work and I knew what to expect.
 
The storyline is pretty simple: a group of french dancers, their last party in a remote building & a bowl of sangria laced with LSD. Yet it all morphs into a beautiful hell. It also looks like it has come from Noe’s twisted cinematic mind, not from a real life story as it has.
 
Although, it’s one of the films, in which the plot is not the main thing. It’s a piece of art with emotion, rawness, and its own beauty. It doesn’t have to be beautiful to be pretty. It has its own ways of beauty. Ultimate coctail of drugs & dance.
The prelude – a shot of an old-school TV, around it books and VHS tapes with short recorded interviews from the diverse dancers auditioning to get in the dance school (also seen in the beginning of the trailer). A good read at the references Noe has put in the shot. The books include Georges Bataille’s Story of the Eye, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and several studies of cinema auteurs like Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau; among the tapes: Possession, Suspiria, Salò, Querelle & Un Chien Andalou, all from which Noe has inspired. Gaspar Noe’s favourite film picks can be seen on Criterion Collection’s Youtube channel.
 
My favourite part must be the visuals. Starting with a perfect bird-view dance sequence, ending with a flawless long shot, similar to the ending of 2002’s Irreversible. Camera perfectly goes with the state that dancers are in. For the most of the final camera is upside down, just like the druged minds of the dancers, hanging from the ceiling like bats. The cinematography done by Benoît Debie, with whom Noe has worked before on his previous films is splendid. The long neon lighted corridors, floating camera & bold intertitles – all director’s cinematic charachteristics are here.
It feels like a psychedelic dream, a time bomb that is ticking faster and faster till it explodes. The explosion and the afterfact is the most exciting part – the climax.
 
The soundtrack is pure dance music, with Aphex Twin, Giorgio Moroder and Soft Cell (Tainted Love indeed) and many more, adding a beautiful background sound. It also features a new song from Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter called Sangria, as well as his previously released track What to Do and Daft Punk’s Rollin’ and Scratchin’.
 

A visual treat, stunning, hardcore and remarkably psychedelic. Go see it if You can.

 

4/5

September 28, 2018

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