Cannes 2018: “Climax” movie, between pure energy and massacre game

Climax, the latest feature film by Gaspar Noé (Irreversible, Enter the Void), presented at the Directors’ Fortnight. Contains both the best and the worst of what can achieved by someone, who has been playing the role of villain for twenty years now.

Young dancers, of all genders and from all backgrounds are auditioned by a renown choreographer. Then gathered in an isolated party room to develop a show.

After three days of work, a party is held everyone that is willing to let go. Noah is content to first film the dance in extenso, over long sequences that circulate and twirl from one character to another.

The magnetic beauty of bodies in movement, the marvelous mixture of sexualities and physiognomies. The explosive intensity of choreography. Compose an orgiastic spectacle of pure energy, which goes very well from any dramatization.

The party is in full swing, the bodies are expose and exhaust. The desire is skyrocketing and all this is a real fireworks for the eyes.

Not to mention that the soundtrack, a continuous mix that runs from Giorgio Moroder to Daft Punk. And more specifically to the “house music“, which participates in the hypnotic power of the together.

An uncontrollable paranoia

But all this could not last. It was necessary for the drama to break out and with it come the emphasis, the horror, in a second part symmetrical to the first.

Everyone use to take for granted, was actually soake with a hard drug for the sangria, . The guests are gradually won by an uncontrollable paranoia. An uncontrollable turns the party into a nightmare and the film into a great game of massacre.

It is not the violence that disturbs (on this the project of Noah is coherent), but its programmatic character which weary. The logic of the worst being able to go only to its end, by associating so many scenes shock and ‘Punch’ images to a brutal spectator.

Noah’s problem never leaves this conception of the film as a psychotropic and cosmic “trip” linking life to death, Ying to yang, and at all costs to force the spectator’s sensations.

At first glance, it’s paradise

Now, the nothing more called than a trip seen from the outside. Which has only two moments, always the same: a rise and a descent. Not even a roller coaster.

After shaking the Croisette with Irreversible in 2002 and Love thirteen years later, Gaspar Noé again shakes Cannes for this 71st edition. The subversive Italian-Argentinian director presented his fifth feature film Climax at the Directors’ Fortnight Sunday morning.

In this shocking film, we follow a troupe of hip-hop dancers in the heart of a good evening. Sangria is drunk while dancing on Cerrone.

At first glance, it’s paradise. Except that the members of this group is  drugg without their knowledge. The orgiastic celebration is about to turn to a dance macabre in this closed session of Gaspar Noé.  When the native of Buenos Aires films is a “skid“, we know what to expect since Irreversible.

Sensitive souls abstain, with Climax, the 54-year-old filmmaker signs a “Dirty Dancing in really dirty “, can read in Three Colors. On the side of the Inrocks, Climax is talk of an “explosive cocktail of sex, violence and drugs filmed by a camera under ecsta”. Gaspar Noé makes Gaspar Noé.

Storyline

In the mid 1990’s, 20 French urban dancers join together for a three-day rehearsal in a closed-down boarding school located at the heart of a forest to share one last dance.

They make one last party around a large sangria bowl. Quickly, the atmosphere becomes charged and a strange madness will seize them the whole night.

If it seems obvious to them that they have drugge, they neither know by who nor why. And it’s soon impossible for them to resist to their neuroses and psychoses, numbed by the hypnotic and the increasing electric rhythm of the music. While some feel in paradise, most of them plunge into hell.

Rating: R (for disturbing content involving a combination of drug use, violent behavior and strong sexuality, and for language and some graphic nudity)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama, Horror, Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub
Written By: Gaspar Noé
In Theaters: Mar 1, 2019 Limited
Studio: A24

Adam Graham
In “Enter the Void,” he used this effect to mirror the experience of a hallucination. But here, it seems the bad boy is running out of tricks, and he’s hammering your skull just to prove he can keep doing it.

Joseph Walsh
Cranking up the decibels, and with nausea-inducing camera work, it’s a sensual overload that will have your heart pounding.

Ty Burr
Surprisingly, hell turns out to be not very interesting when seen close up, and “Climax” is a bad trip that crashes before its characters do.

Rhys Tarling
While this kind of story could easily wind up as a suffocating, sensory overload, Noe’s camera follows each subject in Climax with a steady and curious, if emotionally distanced, eye.

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