Gasp! Argh! Noé way!

CLI­MAX Gas­par Noé fi­nally makes a film that (nearly) ev­ery­one can agree on…

Total Film - - Teasers - DW

For 20 years, Gas­par Noé has been used to leav­ing peo­ple shell­shocked, with scenes of squishy hard­core sex and even splashier graphic vi­o­lence. But this year in Cannes, it was his turn to be left speech­less: with his fifth fea­ture, the sug­ges­tively ti­tled Cli­max, Noé re­ceived his best-ever re­views. “It’s funny,” he says, “be­cause ev­ery sin­gle one of my movies has had a worse re­sponse than the last.” The pos­i­tiv­ity hor­ri­fied him. “Some­thing is go­ing wrong – I’m go­ing to have to go back to cru­elty!”

Filmed in just 15 days, in a church hall out­side Paris, Cli­max is a hor­ror film of sorts, in which a ca­bal of elec­tri­fy­ingly good street­dancers at­tend a party where the san­gria is laced with LSD, lead­ing to a trau­matic group melt­down.

Sur­pris­ingly, it was the dance el­e­ment that came to Noé first. “Af­ter do­ing Love, I said, ‘For once, I’ll try not to show gen­i­tals, be­cause then all the talk is about that.’ I go club­bing a lot, so I de­cided to do a doc­u­men­tary about dancers, but then, weirdly, the film be­came far more of a nar­ra­tive project.”

The story is, he says, based on real events, but only loosely. “It’s much eas­ier to just get in­spired by a story and make your own ver­sion out of it. I mean, we’ll never re­ally know what hap­pened. So I de­cided I would just cite the

con­se­quences of what hap­pened.” He also stresses that, de­spite some in­cred­i­bly re­al­is­tic freak­outs, no one was ever un­der the in­flu­ence. “No,” he in­sists. “Ac­tu­ally, I asked them all and, be­sides one guy, no one had taken LSD. We did some re­search for images of peo­ple hav­ing bad trips, but on set, no one was stoned, no one was drunk.”

Not that you’d know; Cli­max is Noé at his vis­ceral best; and the glow­ing re­views don’t mean Noé has mel­lowed – far from it. “All the el­e­ments of my pre­vi­ous movies are very ev­i­dent,” he grins. “It’s a kind of Worst Of Gas­par Noé.”

ETA | 21 SEPTEMBER / CLI­MAX OPENS NEXT MONTH AND IS RE­VIEWED ON PAGE 48.

STEP­PING STONED The party takes an un­ex­pected turn when ev­ery­one ac­ci­den­tally drops acid; Sofia Boutella as Selva (be­low).

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