The enfant terrible of French cinema, director of the provocative film "Irreversible," talks about his long-anticipated new feature: "Enter the Void"by Justin Villiers / September 19, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
Audience members walked out in disgust during Gaspar Noé’s provocative film, “Irreversible,” at the Cannes film festival back in 2002. Set in Paris and starring Monica Belluci and Vincent Cassel, it has a horrifyingly intimate and protracted rape scene. But this may not have been the most controversial thing about it. It continues to divide critics; some hail it as visionary, others deem it empty sensationalism.
Now Noé’s long-anticipated new work, Enter the Void, is released in Britain on 24th September.
With a cast of mostly non-professional actors, it is a psychedelic melodrama played out against the neon-soaked backdrop of Tokyo’s nightclubs, strip bars and sex hotels. The story unfolds through the eyes of Oscar, a small-time drug dealer who had been shot by police. While his life hangs in the balance, his spirit hovers omnipotently over the city, surveying the streets and passing through the boundaries of various apartments, nightclubs and hotel rooms. Past, present and future merge in a hallucinatory maelstrom, as his life flashes before his eyes.
JUSTIN VILLIERS: Describe the process of bringing this film to the screen.
GASPAR NOE: It’s taken so long. I’d tried to make it before Irreversible, but I couldn’t get it financed. But then, luckily, Irreversible was a sort of bank robbery; it turned into a commercial success and it made this one happen.
It’s been such a long experience that I’m completely exhausted now. We showed an incomplete version at Cannes, then at Toronto, then we showed the final version at the Sundance, before releasing it in France. Now there are two versions—one has an additional reel, and it is 70 minutes longer. It involves a very trippy sequence towards the end of the movie.
JV: You use CGI to “bring to life” the subjective reality of the dying protagonist. De…