Director Gaspar Noé is a force to be reckoned with.
(Credit: IFC Films)
Every now and then a film comes along that transcends film. What I mean by that is, when a film succeeds in being highly experimental and extremely innovative in not only its narrative structure but also in its overall execution, it becomes more than a film. It becomes an EXPERIENCE.
At a base level, film is entertainment. There are all types of moviegoers with different sensibilities in what they want from their movies. There are numerous categories of films that each hit different chords with different audiences. There are films that are simply supposed to be mindless fun, there are films with messages and then there are documentaries that deal with real world situations.
When we go to see movies, in our minds we all have a mental checklist of what we expect out of the moviegoing experience. If our expectations aren’t met, it’s either a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you are. I’ve seen many films that are truly incredibly remarkable films that have pushed the envelope in quality and filmmaking, but it’s very rare that I see a film that transcends film.
Well, recently I saw a film that to me transcended film and became an experience as opposed to being a regular movie. That film is writer/director Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void. The first time I was exposed to Noé’s work was back in 2002 when I saw his French foreign language film Irreversible starring Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel about a man who goes out and gets revenge for the rape of his ex-lover. It was a very controversial film when it came out because it had an eight-minute long rape scene in it. When I finally saw the film, not only was the rape scene as disturbing as I imagined it to be, but there was also a violently graphic scene where a guy gets his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher. While I was definitely disturbed by the realism of the violence, I was also very impressed with the craftsmanship of the film itself.
Fast-forward eight years and I’m walking into the theater to see Noé’s new film, Enter the Void. Going in, I knew Gaspar Noé was a force to be reckoned with, I had seen the trailer, I had heard some great word of mouth about the film and I knew a little bit about the film’s story. All I knew was that it was about a young drug dealer who gets killed and his spirit watches down over his sister. From the minute the opening credits exploded onto the screen, I knew I was in for something special. And boy, was I ever.
Like I said before, this film transcends film. At a certain point it ceases being a regular, “Hey, what’s playing? Let’s go see that!” type of a film and becomes an experience that you must be prepared for. The whole film is seen through the POV of the main character. Besides, any film that opens up with the main character smoking DMT, you know you’re in for a ride. After he’s killed, everything is still seen through his perspective, but now he’s a spirit floating above the people he’s watching over, and at anytime he can zoom and soar across the city and into buildings to spy on whomever he pleases.
The story itself is actually pretty linear and simple, but it’s the way it’s told that makes it so unique. This is the type of film that deserves praise on top of praise for daring to be so unbelievably bold and succeeding at it. I can’t guarantee that everybody will like this film. Personally I think a lot of people will be disturbed by it, but at least I hope that everyone can acknowledge the genius of it. Also, the film really should be experienced in a movie theater. I really hope that in the future after it completes its theatrical run, it will be shown periodically in theaters so that people can get the full experience of it. I was blown away by this experience, and when a filmmaker creates a piece of work this bold and this innovative, it deserves to be seen.
Enter the Void will play Oct. 30-31 at 11 a.m. at Laemmle Monica 4-plex, 1332 2nd St.,
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Article posted on 10/29/2010
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