A lot has been said about Gaspar Noe and his films. The Argentinian filmmaker has received both praise and condemnation for his provocative movies that continuously push the envelope of art-house films.
Critics and moviegoers got their first taste of what Noe was about with the release of his 1998 film “I Stand Alone,” which is about a French butcher who is slowly losing his mind as he tries to reconnect with his daughter. It is a movie that focuses on the effects of his living in a society that alienates you, as you try to seek redemption for past deeds. The movie is quite dark and showcases graphic sex scenes and brutal violence that will become commonplace in Noe’s later films. The ending of the film is rather disturbing as the deranged butcher attempts to have sex with his own daughter.
Noe’s follow up movie was the 2002 thriller “Irreversible” that became the director’s infamous and controversial film. The movie is filmed in reverse order as the audience follows a man who runs around Paris trying to avenge his girlfriend who was brutally raped. The movie explores the senselessness of violence and the all-consuming power of revenge and shame. The film gained notoriety for its ten-minute scene of a woman being anally raped. Many critics were divided on the film with Roger Ebert giving it a positive review, but also stating that many people will find it unwatchable.
After “Irreversible,” it took several years before Noe’s next film was released. The 2009 movie “Enter the Void” was a change of pace for the director and his most visually stunning work. The film follows an American drug dealer in Tokyo, who is killed by the police and continues to view the world from outside his body. Noe makes use of Tokyo’s neon lights and creates a sort of psychedelic experience for the viewer as the main character moves around the city and revisits past events in his life. The movie does have it share of sex scenes and violence, but is tamer than Noe’s previous films.
In 2015, Noe returned to true form with his film “Love” that made all of his previous movies look like child's play. This film focused on the passionate and eventual ending of a relationship between two lovers. The couple dabble in various sexual fantasies including a threesome and a participating in an orgy. The movie received controversy for its explicit and unsimulated sex scenes that the actors performed. When asked about the graphic sex scenes, Noe told IndieWire: “I just wanted to portray sexual passion as much as possible, because in real-life it’s very common, but you don’t see it properly portrayed onscreen.”
Overall, Gaspar Noe’s films are original and unique in their own ways and can never be fully defined as one thing. Each movie has many layers that continue to unravel with each subsequent viewing and provides an experience that is worth undertaking and leaves many wondering what he is going to do next.