Gasp! Argh! Noé way!
CLIMAX Gaspar Noé finally makes a film that (nearly) everyone can agree on…
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).