In the final days of the Cannes Film Festival, guests start walking, crowds are reduced, and empty seats are everywhere. In bars, restaurants and cinemas around the city. Gaspar Noe buried the mood even before the Vortex red carpet premiere. At this point, the director tends to turn off all the lights.
Spurred on by the recent departures of several close friends:
And his own recent near-death experience (brain haemorrhage in 2019). Noah’s unconventional film unfolds as a tale of muttering horror and nameless fear. That creeps silently through a cramped Paris apartment.
Like the Dark Harvester movies. It’s not just a quick change for the French-separated director who usually falls during his mid-weekend break in Cannes. This is one of the best photos he has taken in terms of scope, ambition, and performance.
Italian director Dario Argento (unknown to even shocking audiences). Plays an unnamed father plagued by heart disease and struggling with a book. About a connection between cinema and the subconscious bound never to end. As he climbs from his couch to his desk in the bathroom.
His path crosses the path of his wife (Françoise LeBrun), a retired psychiatrist. She still has dementia but continues to write prescriptions that support a household with tablets.
Both love each other and take care of their health. But in old age, they have become two zoological animals who accidentally share the same enclosure. With each creature travelling aimlessly through the walls.
Space vortex and conspiracy blend the inevitable memories of Michael Haneke’s Amour:
Which won the most significant award here in 2012. Aside from the fact that Noah’s films are darker, dirtier, it’s almost a 19th-century story focusing on twisted bodies and sick faces.
In a narrow, dimly lit room. It’s also formally more inventive. Noé’s great innovation is capturing everything on a split-screen, with two portable cameras pointing at the main character at all times, even as they sit next to each other on the couch or in bed together.
“This man follows me everywhere,” one mother complained, and we couldn’t be sure if she meant her husband, the cameraman or something else: an invisible presence breathing down their necks.
Of course, there is no such happy endings for these people. However, Noah’s relentless secret advancement is not without tender moments. Mom and dad want the best for each other and are loved and appreciated by their adult son Stefan (Alex Lutz).
It’s just that this film shows that love is a very fragile buffer against deteriorating health and death. Unsurprisingly, Stefan has his problems. He is a recovering drug addict who is now distributing clean needles to city users and is in constant danger of straying.
He wanted his parents to move into a life support facility, especially for them and for him. “I can’t help you,” he admitted. “I can’t even hold myself back.”
What Noé’s fans will do about it is predictable:
Though we hope they’ll recognize this as the next logical step: the next big topic to work on. It’s as terrifying as the stroboscopic fantasy of antiquity; the jet-black midnight film that made most of Cannes’ official competition seem tame.
Vortex is intentional, frivolous, and works flawlessly in a loose improve style. It’s a film that doesn’t come out loud but with a mix of slippers, squeaky floorboards, and forgotten snoring from the bed. Mother and father together, but alone, each on his journey, each confined within his elongated framework.
But in the middle, sitting at the kitchen table, the woman sought consolation from her husband, who shakily took his hand and briefly broke through the thin black barrier that separated them. Not much, but what helps most is what to expect, a moment of connection before we all say goodnight to each other.