Sunday, May 28

Criticism of ‘Vortex’: existential emptiness

A still from ‘Vortex’.

After the experimental ‘Lux Æterna’ and the acclaimed ‘Clímax’, Gaspar Noé premieres his latest bet in some select theaters, days before appearing directly as an essential release on the Filmin menu. It is more accessible than his previous works, less transgressive

Borja Crespo

Perhaps it is not the best film for a hot summer, because of its emotional nature, and at times harsh in its exposition, but ‘Vortex’ begins precisely with a hymn to life, with the protagonists toasting on the terrace, in an attic, emanating a light that spreads, between the roofs of the city. A sequence full of luminosity, as opposed to what will come next, as reflected in other films by its head, hard on the retina. The scenes follow one another changing shot by cut going to black, as if they were photographic snapshots, a whole treatise on principles. When the story begins, once the characters have been introduced, the screen splits in two. Gaspar Noé never leaves indifferent. His cinema arouses likes and dislikes and his latest proposal was not going to be less. After the more experimental ‘Lux Æterna’, he has decided to delve into our consciences, or rather into our existence, to scrupulously describe the last days of an elderly couple who profess eternal love, something that the director of the excellent ‘ Enter the Void’. He shakes hands with ‘Amor’, by Haneke, with two exceptional faces in front of the camera, the excellent Darío Argento and Françoise Lebrun. An unthinkable duet, uniting the well-known French actress, who dazzled in her day with her applauded work in ‘La mama y la puta’, and the cult creator of Italian giallo masterpieces such as ‘Suspiria’ or ‘Phenomena’ . Fans of the latter can see it in an unimaginable facet.

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The movie trailer.

The seventh feature film by the Franco-Argentinean travels again through unexpected aesthetic paths, taking advantage of that screen divided in two that fleetingly turns off completely. We are not facing a well-to-do filmmaker. The same scene is divided with a black bar, right in the middle, underlining the distance or lack of communication. It sows uncertainty, while most of the footage offers two different actions, interconnected, with the fragmentation of frames. The elderly protagonists live submerged in an existential twilight that spreads around them, affecting their home and the rest of the family. She has Alzheimer’s problems, he survives with his arteries on the verge of collapse. Decadence is the theme that runs through the film, a bold, thoughtful and uncomfortable work. Apparently, ‘Vortex’, presented at Cannes, winner of the award for best film in the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section of the San Sebastian Festival, seems more restrained than previous projects by the creator of the disconcerting and violent ‘Irreversible’, but it doesn’t for this reason, it stops shaking consciences, with a sour message after a painful journey. Noé is as human as ever, in his own way, but more accessible and realistic. He meditates on old age and loneliness, as he knows best, with forceful images, responding to a personal question: the impact of the death of his own mother. “I have already made films with which the spectators have been scared, they have been horny or they have laughed”, the director points out in an interview. “This time I wanted to make them cry as hard as I have, both in life and in the movies.”

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