Chronicle Sitges 2018: “Climax” danzad, danzad, cursed
You know what you play every time you face Gaspar Noé’s new movie. It is the sensation of absolute vulnerability as a spectator, of having in mind that it will annoy and attack us directly, as well as the assurance that, whether for good or for bad, it will not leave us indifferent. His cinema is pure provocation, where depravity and violence is always present, it is that kind of cinema destined to take us out of our comfort zone at all times. His work does not admit half measures and in this sense, “Climax” was not going to be less.
We are talking about a film that once again, and here if there is no valid discussion, is a technical prodigy, a camera exercise that absorbs you from the first second and does not release you until its very last moment, an immersive experience of an absolutely visceral that again leaves behind the genuine technical capacity that the French filmmaker of Argentine origin treasures in the use of the camera. For some untapped talent, for others, one-of-a-kind excellence, what is clear is that when an author has the nerve to cause such a polarization between criticism and the public, his work has its own unconditional and irrevocable personality. And this will be the case, give it for sure too, of his new movie. . Dance, dance, damn.
What is it?
The story centers on twenty young dancers of urban dance that during the 90s gather for a three-day days of rehearsals in an abandoned boarding school located in the forest. There, they do their last common dance and then celebrate a final celebration party. Soon, the atmosphere becomes electric and a strange madness catches them all night. They have been drugged, they do not know by whom or why.
Gaspar Noé is the only filmmaker on the face of the earth capable of staging a coitus from inside a vagina as he did with “Enter the Void” , ejaculating in our very same with all his “Love” or slapping us with a sequence shot of fixed camera with the 12 minutes of unbearable violation that marked his work summit, “Irreversible” .
Who goes out?
With the exception of the Algerian actress Sofia Boutella , the rest of the cast were professional dancers, who were allowed to improvise so much of the choreography as of the dialogues.
What is it?
“Fame: to dance” + “Cabin Fever” + “Suspiria”. Or if you prefer, La Marseillaise versioned by Gaspar Noé.
What does it offer?
Filmed in a single space, confined in a gymnasium converted into a dance hall, at a final degree party, “Climax” represents what cinema really is as an experience. The one that gives us is a marvelous directorial exercise brimming with impossible camera movements, vertiginous zenith planes, an extraordinary choreographic and sonorous work and an extreme care in enlightenment, that beyond offering at the same time a reflection on life, death and sexual relations, we could also point to it as the first political film by Gaspar Noé. And it is not precisely for free whim, it is the French flag, its constant presence, which at all times presides over the party. But no one is wrong, here there is no trace of patriotism, rather erosion and volatilization of the values that supposedly represents. The “liberté, egalité, fraternité” that governs France is put in evidence, the impossibility of a life in collective harmony, between sexual diversity and different origins, is what “Climax” reflects us. It is probably for this reason that among the dancers we find practically all the possible representations of the citizenship that today lives in France (except the Arab community, a questionable decision).
It is on this discursive approach that the person in charge of “Irreversible” immerses us in the horror of the high. That is, “Climax” is not a lysergic movie to use, rather the opposite. The effects of ingesting a drug involuntarily leads his characters to embark on the dazed delirium, in the self-destructive hallucination, in a kind of bacchanal with the air of “Battle Royale” propelled by physical and oral aggression, by hysterical collective abjection . It is true that the experimentation of “Climax” may well lead one to presume an incongruously moralistic approach and that it takes some other decision as risky as it is wrong, which will raise the indignation of many. “Climax” however, will also raise the fascination of many others. That’s what it is about.