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
The film's world premiere was near the end of the Cannes Film Festival 2009 because the film was not finished at this time. Around 50 graphic artists were working on finishing the film. The running time of this festival cut was 163 minutes. Because of the tight schedule, the film was screened without opening or closing credits. The film started with "Enter" and ended with "The Void." See more »
During the first sequence in the "Sex, Money, Power" strip club, the camera and jib/crane are visible in the reflection of the platform the dancers are on. See more »
Hey. Hey, Linda. C'mere. Come outside. I wonder what Tokyo looks like from up there.
I'd be scared.
Scared of what?
Of dying, I guess. Falling into the void.
They say you fly when you die.
It's fucking cold.
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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 »
In some countries, the theatrical release was shortened by omitting reel 7 of 9. This removed 17 minutes of material. See more »
Enter the Void is exactly the kind of polarizing film that cinema needs right now. Too many films these days play it safe, being concerned with keeping the audience comfortable, safe and happy. Enter Gaspar Noe, who clearly has no regard either for the well-being of either the audience or his actors. We have antagonistically long (but brilliant) takes, beginning in an apartment and ending in a bar, several blocks over. We are given characters and are exposed to their darkest moments, but are never given a real reason to care for them, or to perceive them as anything but wretched. We are also shown some sexually discomforting things that we never really wanted to see on the silver screen (if you've seen it you probably know what I'm talking about). Also, the film is almost completely in first-person viewpoint, so you're constantly feeling confined to what Oscar is looking at, which are mostly psychedelic images. In effect, the feel and tone of the story are immediately off-putting for the viewer, but since you've already bought a ticket, what can you do but follow it through?
This is definitely the kind of film that can be approached in the wrong way, both with the medium that you view it through, and with your state of mind. Enter the Void is meant to be a transportive film (i.e. you living directly in the viewpoint of another, and feeling how that person feels, and perhaps even thinking how that person thinks). To technically maximize the experience, the film should really be experienced on the big screen. I'd imagine an IMAX screen to be ideal.
I also think a film like Enter the Void really needs to be approached with a separate set of goals than that of a normal film. First of all, chuck any notions of entertainment, or even enjoyment, out the window. While you're at it, remove any notions of positivity that you can think of. The only reactions that Enter the Void will draw from you are negative ones. Personally, the only emotion I consistently felt was a slight nausea, tinted with the occasional horror, or perhaps a shameful arousal, as there is excessive sexual content that is all wretched in one way or another.
The film is shot with a certain frame of mind, and sticks to it with remarkable faith. It's in the point of view of a small group of friends who are confined to the drug and clubbing scenes in Tokyo. He then films them in the most abrasive ways possible, showering the viewer in infinite neon lights, and fish-eyed close-ups, and then Noe lets his frames linger on these unsightly images for uncomfortably long. Even with his tracking shots moving from one location to another, when the viewer is normally given a moments rest, he rapidly cuts across hallways, stairs, and streets, and never gives the viewer a free moment to settle down.
Despite the film's antagonistic feel, and despite the physical and psychological discomforts that the film drew from me, I still found Enter the Void to be a worthwhile and even inspirational experience. More to the point, Enter the Void may not be a friendly experience, but this exact kind of experimentation and determined expression are just what cinema needs in order to be taken seriously as an artistic medium, when so many other directors air on the side of caution and safety. It might be a difficult ride, but just watch it once and you'll carry it with you forever.
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