A lesbian, an aspiring actor, an aspiring singer, a low-class marriage, a neighborhood community and 2 renowned directors have memorable less-than-24-hour-long experiences while living in/visiting the capital of Cuba.
Tokyo's nasty underside, seen primarily through the eyes of Oscar, a heavy drug user, whose sister Linda is a stripper. Oscar also has flashbacks to his childhood when trauma upends the siblings. Oscar's drug-fed hallucinations alter Tokyo's already-disconcerting nights, and after the police shoot him, he can float above and look down: on his sister's sorrow, on the rooms of a love hotel, and on life at even a molecular level. The spectrum's colors can be beautiful; it's people's colorless lives that can be ugly. And what of afterlife, is there more than a void? Written by
In the USA, the film reels read 1 through 9, but skip reel 7. See more »
15 minutes into the film, there is a bathroom POV scene where the character is looking into a mirror and splashing water on his face. in the sink, the hands have a ring on them, but in the 'mirror', they do not. See more »
[on ecstasy, dancing with Alex]
Oscar, who is this man? He's doing... he's trying to... fuck me.
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At the Cannes Film Festival the film was screened without any opening or closing credits, the film began with "ENTER" and ended with "THE VOID". See more »
Ambitious, deeply mystic and provocative movie with earth-shattering FX
Gaspar Noé's big beast of a Cannes entrant showed for the first time in the UK this week in October. Gaspar Noé was there to introduce the film, which was a great kick for me, even though he didn't do a Q&A. His intro was quite funny, because he's not a grand intellectual, he's more of a sensualist. It's clear that he had a pretty dissipated youth and he talked about his experimentation with hallucinogenics and he always wondered as a kid why nobody was making movies with the images like he was seeing whilst high in them. So this is a movie I think he's wanted to make for a very long time, perhaps a couple of decades, but only now has he been able to get the freedom and funding to do it.
He said he had seen the film Lady in the Lake after taking a magic mushroom; this is a 1947 Raymond Chandler adaptation which is shot in POV (that is, the camera is like the eyes of the lead). Gaspar had also been reading about life after death experiences, or near death experiences. So he wanted to combine the hallucinations, POV shooting, and out-of-body experience material. The result is 2 hour and 43 minutes of masterpiece. It will leave the ciné-gourmand gorged and bewildered. For me it's a clear step-up, even an evolution, from his last feature film in 2002, Irréversible. The idea of having out-of-body experiences really frees up the concept of POV, Noé's not limited by the body (which can't just glide forty feet into the air, or halfway across the city). He's really freed up to shoot the fluorescent sexual labyrinth of Tokyo, which is shot only at night-time and in POV.
The story in the movie concerns a brother and sister (Oscar and Linda) who have a childhood trauma and end up moving to Tokyo in their late teens where they become involved in a heaving underworld. I think though that Tokyo is more of a metaphor in this film, I don't think he's trying to tell you anything about Tokyo the city per se, I think it's just the perfect pre-fabricated set for Noé. In the film it's a nerve centre, it's that place in life where we meet lovers, copulate, produce new life, and die. It's the mayfly (order Ephemeroptera, from the Greek for short-lived) part of the human lifecycle, which we experience in a heightened fashion through the eyes of Oscar.
There's a lot of stuff in here for you to take offence to if you want, If you have ever taken offence to a film on content grounds as opposed to intellectual grounds, you're likely to take offence here. Pornographic linkages between adult sexuality and the Oedipus complex, for me are brilliant, but will upset many filmgoers.
Those people who have decided that Noé is homophobic or misogynistic after seeing Irréversible are not going to have their minds changed by this movie at all. There seems to be a very strong link in his mind between sex and procreation. You don't have to consume the movie in a homophobic way in my opinion, but there may be a lot of upset gays after seeing this movie. Particularly as the gay character in this movie is portrayed as being on the same level as the rapist in Irréversible. There's no direct comment, but if you read between the lines, you may not like what you read.
I think the androphiles are going to love Nathaniel Brown who plays the lead teen, Oscar, in this movie, which is his first credited role on IMDb, straight as I am, even I can tell he's a heartthrob. Paz de la Huerta as Linda, his sister, is very eye candyish too. If you like to see beautiful things writhing (we're talking eye popping next level FX hallucinations here, as well as copious sex), then this is the movie for you.
I walked out of the cinema still tripping, the POV is so spectacularly well delivered that you feel almost like you're still in the movie when you come out, because the mode of perception hasn't changed.
The lasting images I am left with are from the Love hotel, a very strange pastel and fluorescent building that has holo-reflectors design on the outside and which Noé dedicates a lot of the later part of the movie to, the FX emanations are spectacular.
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