PosTED ON OCTOBER 16
A regular at the Lumière festival, Gaspar Noé delivers a powerful film about couples and old age.
In 2019, Gaspar Noé had an out-of-this-world experience, a brain haemorrhage that brought him close to death. From this ordeal, he has produced a unique, multifaceted work, perhaps his finest film: Vortex. Behind this title, which sounds like a frenetic journey in circles, Noé actually films a couple who are so old that they move blindly but fluidly through the narrow passageways of their apartment. The man is still somewhat living his outer life (Dario Argento, as an ever-alert filmmaker), while the woman is already in another dimension (Françoise Lebrun, his wife, suffering from dementia). Only a few visits from their not-so-young but still troubled son (Alex Lutz) provides a sense of distant modernity.
Vortex is a superb film about the most extreme intimacy, the intimacy of being able to stand alone with yourself, regardless of whether, like the characters, you have a family or not. To fully illustrate the lives of his protagonists, Noé uses a split screen, a method that has never been more justified than in this film. The naturally slow pace of this elderly couple allows the viewer time to evaluate the different images of their lives simultaneously.
This gives us great insight into many aspects about the union of two beings, the end of life, and all those automatic and personal gestures made when no one else can see us, such as the sheet that the woman covers her face with while she is lying in bed. This image speaks volumes about Noé’s graceful, ‘hands off’ directing style, his skill in terms of form, and his ability to create a compelling, unforgettable film.
Vortex by Gaspar Noé (2021, 2h22)
UGC Confluence Sat16 2:15pm