Enter the Void


Paz de la Huerta in <em>Enter the Void</em>
Whatever else its merits may be, Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void immediately enters the canon of first-person cinema. The highly subjective camera that depicts an experience from the point of view of one of the characters in a film has been a source of fascination and frustration in cinema for decades. Executed well, and in short bursts, it can be an effective tactic. For instance, there’s a memorable sequence in Carl-Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932) in which the camera seems to be placed inside a coffin and then carried through the streets. But 1947’s The Lady in the Lake, a feature-length film noir shot entirely with a subjective camera, is an oft-discussed but somewhat goofy curio that is seldom actually dragged out into the light of day.

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“Time destroys all things,” mutters an aged character at the beginning and declares the Godardian title card at the end of this infernal spectacle from 39-year-old enfant terrible Gaspar Noé. Provocative to a fault, violent beyond my ability either to anticipate or describe, and serious like a fucking tumor, the multiple atrocities visited upon the audience by Irreversible are a kind of visceral attack. It’s meant to leave bruises.

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