Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gaspar Noe's new film "Enter the Void" at Northwest Film Forum : Oct 8 - 14

Coming to Northwest Film Forum! From the director of the single-most-difficult piece of cinema I've ever seen,
not due to duration or glacial slowness or high-concept hoobaloo, but simply that the events depicted were of
a brutality and believability that I've never seen in cinema, before or since. Yep, we're talking Gaspar Noe's
"Irreversible", which at the time, friends and I spent a month debating it's potential merits and reasons to see it
knowing the premise and questioning the objective, relevance and result... and guess what? When finally seeing
it the film stands as a paramount, transformative, powerful piece of cinema like no other in the history of the medium.
Honest. That said, his previous film, "I Stand Alone" watches like a bit of postmodern comedy now, complete with
shock-value 'get out while you can!' mechanism that in the 90's was probably effective and original, but hasn't
weathered quite as well as "Irreversible" overall, yet still retains much of it's original brutality. My review of his
newest, "Enter the Void" begins with a lengthy string of qualifiers, but make it past those and you'll see my point here:

Even for it's dippy drug user 20something protagonist and his wayward sister (read: self-endangering, damaged),
even for the corniness of the '2001: A Space Odyssey' cosmic baby/vagcam nonsense of the end, even for it
exploring pretty literally the whole setup of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, as alluded to be the extended opening
sequence discussion of the three Bardos of 'Life, Death & Rebirth', even for all it's overlong redundancy, even for the
all first-person literalism - this was truly one of the most hallucineogenic, cosmic, tripped out explorations of perception,
sex and mortality that I've seen on screen in many years. From Chris Norris' fairly brilliant overview/article on the film in
the Oct. issue of Film Comment: "Noe calls the film's genre 'psychedelic melodrama', but it also falls into the much older
tradition of 'void' tales, whose tellers run from Dante, to Dickens, to Poe to Thornton Wilder. But the feeling I found in the
wake of Enter the Void was an ineffable sense of devotion - to craft, experience, perception, consciousness - whose only
meaning is likely in the topography Thorton Wilder saw gazing into Bardo: a land of the living, and a land of the dead,
bridged only, and tenuously, by love."

Link to Northwest Film Forum "Enter the Void" site

Link to IFC "Enter the Void" site

Link to Film Comment Sept/Oct Issue