Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe’s film is shot almost entirely in p.o.v., the protagonist a young guy doing and dealing drugs in a seedy, emphatically-neon Tokyo. Early voiceovers–where he tells himself things that no sapient creature would ever need to say, or even think, as the camera watches from his vantage, hands fumbling forward into frame to unlock a door, to grab his stash, to burn a pipe.

And yet–even early on, with some of this stilted narration, and the artifice of the p.o.v. ploy, there are cluttered rushes of image:

the apartment

Then it gets worse–no real spoiler: he’s shot. He dies. The film continues on, getting even trippier, as he floats, above and through the streets and siderooms, observes in swooping panoramas and rotating overheads. And he floats in and out of time, backward, forward — and we lose the narration but gain all sorts of overdetermined plotting, some bigfooted Freudian jipes, and, and, and…

And these images!

The city

and the city

I put in the whines because when I heard the plot summary, I said no fucking way. But a friend (David!) saw it, spurred me to stream it…. and it’s a glorious, often moving, always extravagantly sensual film experience. It’s too long, like a lot of trips, but it’s as close to cinematic acid as I have ever seen. Recommended.

4 thoughts on “Enter the Void

  1. I imagine this would have been AWESOME in a theater, sound up too high.

    I would still whine about the “meaning” of some of the past/present connections drawn, and the pseudomystical hoohah… but the cinematic play with these ideas is great. I.e., ignore what it’s about, and pay attention to how it’s done, and Noe seems brilliant. I will maybe check out Irreversible, but …. phew, that topic and what I’ve heard about it.

    I plan to watch The Maid soon!

  2. I streamed about 40 minutes of Void last night. Alas, the visuals were not as air tight (a bit fuzzy around the edges) as I would have liked for such a visual flight of buzzy philosophical hoohah. It was a bit mumbly and twee (though I obviously didn’t get too far into the action). Irreversible does have one very harrowing scene, but Noe does some very interesting things with time and moral perspective. It caught me off guard in ways I did not expect.

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