Vortex by Gaspar Noé

“Life is a dream, isn’t it?” “Yes, life is a dream in a dream.”

What to say about this master piece seen last week at the Jerusalem Cinémathèque: Go see it with you own eyes! Or if the name Gaspar Noé isn’t enough to make you move from where you are to the darkness of an air conditioned cinema I will give you more reasons to do so:

  1. The big screen: I saw «Vortex» on what I believe is the biggest screen of the Jerusalem Cinémathèque. A venue that I visited for the second time and that I really appreciate for it’s seriousness and beautiful architecture and location close to the old town. To enjoy Noé’s latest film it is of outmost importance to have it projected on a big screen because the frame is split in two squares. One side shows his (Dario Argento’s) perspective and the other side hers (Françoise Lebrun).
  2. The topic: Aging/elderly people are an important topic in today’s societies. Often neglected, almost forgotten by the younger generations, old people live a lonely life until they are put in elderly homes and wait for death basically. In the western culture rare are the families that really care for their elders. «Vortex» shows this and the role-change from being someone’s son into becoming someone’s “parent” or caregiver. Stéphane (Alex Lutz) is a wonderful example of a son, who is facing a difficult family situation, in which he not only has to fight for his rights as a father (he has a son) but also for his parents, who are slowly drifting into madness / dementia.
  3. Gaspar Noé: If you are a cinephile you will know his name and maybe you will even have seen his other movies. I have to admit that I have read about his other films like «Climax» (F 2018) but this is the first I’ve seen. The argentinian-french auteur is known for his provocative works and is said to be the enfant terrible of french cinema.
  4. The mise en scène / style: What a great idea to use split screen. This aesthetic decision let’s the viewer choose, which protagonist he wants to look at and also permits a constant change of focus on the action. As the two characters mainly move inside their Parisian apartment it is rather easy to locate them but when she leaves for groceries and loses herself in some shop both seem miles apart. Not only the split screen but also the attention to details on the sets: his carefully arranged office, in which he is writing a book on cinema, their bedroom and their flourished balcony, every room is part of the narration of a long and full life spent together.

So, these four reasons should be enough for you to want to find the nearest cinema and discover «Vortex» with your own eyes. In Switzerland the film was apparently already shown but maybe some openair cinemas will give you a chance to see it!

And please share your opinion in the comment section below 🙂

Selfie taken in front of the Jerusalem Cinémathèque

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