Only Gaspar Noé, the arch-instigator of the French film, makes a fashion ad like Lux Stern. Commissioned by luxury fashion house Saint Laurent, the film is a 51-minute improvised experimental art project that features a staged witch burn and ends with an extended, flickering nightmare of flashing light and sound. It may leave the audience feeling wild, euphoric, amused, annoyed, or all of the above, but will it make them feel like they want to drop a thousand dollars on a handbag?
They will definitely feel like they just watched a Gaspar Noé movie. The director has a taste for extreme content and unconventional filmmaking techniques, and loves to stand out from audiences and critics. He made his name with 2002 Irreversible, a drama told in reverse chronological order and centered on a painfully depicted extended rape scene. He followed it up with a first person disembodied head journey enter the void. Then he cast pornographic actors in it love, erotic drama staring at his navel, so he can film non-simulated sex scenes in 3D — including, of course, a very close-up shot of a penis descending directly on viewers’ faces. You found the idea.
Noe is one of the world’s most mythological authors, and at times what may seem most offensive about his films is how desperately he wants them to shock audiences. But he has undeniable gifts. His understated, sultry, neon-lit aesthetic, designed by regular cinematographer Benoit Debbie, has a seductive and decadent charm. (This is certainly what Saint Laurent was after.) An expert on the editorial set, he always finds unusual ways to synthesize his curvy shots and stunning imagery into a cinematic escalation that can leave the heart racing.
Lux Stern (which means “eternal light” in Latin) is a loose, real-time behind-the-scenes drama about making a movie that gets out of control. Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg, both icons of Gallic cool, a theatrical version of themselves: Dalle cast Gainsbourg in her first film as director, about medieval witches burning, but she struggles to control a chaotic group. The producer colludes behind Dall’s back to be replaced by the director of photography. Distracted and harassed by journalists, makeup artists and a young director, Gainsbourg receives a disturbing phone call from home before filming a stock burning scene. Then the lighting and back-projection devices fail, and things become like that Is that true Horrible.
The most infuriating part of the film is the beginning, as Noe chooses to lecture the audience by showing old film footage (from Karl Theodor Dreyer’s 1943 play The Magic of Drama). day of anger) and fantastically tabled quotes about the film as art from Dreyer, Jean-Luc Godard, and others. Dostoevsky’s quotation on the pure happiness experienced by epileptics before the seizure foreshadows the seizure-inducing symptom that Noe would later develop. Ironically, it should serve as a warning that any viewers with light-sensitive stimuli should turn off the film.
This self-respecting introduction is immediately followed by a beautiful clip in which Dalle and Gainsbourg have a relaxed, unscripted chat on the site, sharing wild tidbits from their careers. Dalle, who became a child sex symbol in the ’80s when she was cast in the erotic drama Betty Blue, has matured to the irreparable force of leather nature. Her foul digressions, her raucous laughter, and her gap-tooth smile are completely irresistible. Ginsburg, the daughter of outrageous hall singer Serge, is heavy and stringy, with a typical frame, a tired face, and flint in her eye. She is simply one of the coolest people alive. It’s just a privilege to watch these women shoot shit.
Oddly enough, this clip from the movie, and the backstage bickering, the farce, and the incidents that followed, remind us nothing so much as an episode of Call my agent!Netflix comedy-drama about Parisian talent agents. Whoever is anyone in French acting has appeared as himself Call my agent!, including both Dalle and Gainsbourg; Dalle’s episode is a special delight. The show is frothy stuff, but as a portrait of how the world of French cinema sees itself, it’s pretty sharp, and it’s almost always on point when it comes to the treatment of women in the industry.
Seems that was at least partly Noe’s topic here as well. When Dalle and Gainsbourg talk about their experience with sad humor, he wisely gets out of the way. Elsewhere, it exposes them and other women in film within a movie to a barrage of insults and undermining of attention-seeking men so they can hunt. He points out that Dreyer (who made Joan of Arc’s painSilent cinema masterpiece) gets a “wonderful” shot of a tormented woman being burned at the stake. day of anger Leave it tied for two hours. He had Ginsburg take the disturbing phone call about her daughter next to the stent of a disembodied male torso; She stimulates in her waxy mass unconsciously as she speaks.
All the while, Noé uses split screen to give viewers two simultaneous shows of the action. Sometimes two angles are in the same scene; Sometimes the show is split into two hand-held shots, conveying the multi-layered chaos of production. Sometimes a shot is captured by an assistant who has been asked by the producer to follow Dalle with a video camera and record any mistakes she might make. This intrusion is commented on, but it’s also on display.
Like Lux Stern Rising to the height of a wig, the screen dissolves into an almost invisible blizzard of red, blue, and green, with Gainsbourg writhing in unease in the center of the frame and an off-screen male voice rejoicing in it. Noe makes his point – and gets his shot. As always, he has his cake and eats it too. I watched women burn at the stake until your eyes bled. Now buy the dress.
Lux Stern It is now shown in theaters.