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Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:57 pm
Noe basically found the raw and apparently "lost" footage from the "hell" scene in Event Horizon and stuck 80/90s hit singles over the top of it.
Being honest I thought I would hate this and I was prepared to walk (mainly so I could get the drinks in early, yeah a film about excess causing the audience to leave to indulge in that very thing) but I do love choreography, so the first extended take in the film was excellent, highly impact and well shot and presented.
Then we got Pump Up the Volume and I was sold.
Then I got pissed off with the camera being upside down all the time
Then I was beaten into submission.
So not walking out means it scores highly, not that I'll ever watch it again.
Note: To lessen an LSD trip you need orange juice *cough* so I've heard.
Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:45 pm
As the lights came up and I was asked what I thought by my chums the first words to leave my lips were "blimey, it was like a French 'Dust'!". Dust of course was the Adam Mason film which premiered at Frightfest way back in the early Prince Charles days and which I hated with a vengeance. If you want to see what a real mass walk out looks then that was the place to be as people started leaving from around 5 minutes in and didn't stop til the final credits rolled. It also had a very similar storyline with a bunch of yuppies heading out to an isolated countryside village and getting ripped to the tits on angel dust while upsetting the locals (and the audience) to the point of no return. And the whole film was shot from that drugged up fractured scattershot viewpoint. Just like Climax. The difference ironically being despite all its improvisation and minimal 'five page' screenplay Climax has structure and focus and a proper start, middle and end. We're introduced to all the characters in the opening video interviews and get a good idea of what they're all about. We get to see them show off their talent and dance/strut their funky stuff in what incredibly looks like one continuous lengthy shot (truly amazing as is the accompanying thumping soundtrack). Then the drinks are spiked and everything goes to hell, as anyone who's seen a Noe film before will be expecting, before the big comedown where the cast and audience come out the other side (apart from those who've either died or left the cinema) more or less intact. Not everyone is going to like it obviously and I was certainly struggling with the camera staying upside down for so long towards the end as I desperately tried to make out what was going on (which was presumably the intention... to put you in the same disorientated predicament as the characters). And that fucking dog continually barking had me grinding my teeth.
But as frustrating as parts of it were to watch I was glad I came along for the ride. Unlike Dust this had believable characters played by people who could act and sell the whole nightmarish concept to the point you felt like you were in there with them. It certainly wasn't easy to watch but that's par for the course with Noe. It's also not his best movie in my opinion. That would be Irreversible which has similar disorientating camerawork and one of the hardest things I've ever had to watch at a cinema with its extended rape sequence. I'm still struggling to give that film a second viewing despite scoring it a 10/10 at the time and owning the dvd. By comparison Climax doesn't go anywhere near far enough in my opinion despite claims to the contrary which, if anything, is my main bone of contention with the film. After all the build up I was expecting it to be far more extreme. 7/10 here.
Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:58 pm
The experience of seeing Climax was the highlight of my Frightfest. I won't argue against anyone unable to say they enjoyed it, but I would like to elaborate on my own personal response.
After 24 films over 5 days I had become somewhat numb to the succession of sight, sounds and stories being projected at me. The Golem (the 24th, and penultimate film) was by all careful and considered appraisal a pretty competent movie but it washed over me without evoking a single notable emotion or new thought. I'll stress that this is not to single out The Golem. The same would have been true of many of the 24 films. Horror as a genre naturally produces an abundance of mediocrity, movies made to shock and scare, but that ironically fail in this remit due to a lack of imagination and any spark of creativity. This situation is exacerbated at Frightfest by watching so many, over such a short amount of time, and in my movie watching life in general, simply from engaging with the genre for several decades.
So as it began, Climax was going to have to do something pretty amazing to evoke a response, and boy did it succeed. I came out of the screening feeling physically and mentally high, an adrenal cocktail of shock, relief, exhilaration and horror coursing through my system, which refused to dissipate for many many hours after. It was as if I'd imbibed the same spiked sangria responsible for turning the cast (troupe?) from the unstoppable, irrepressible forces of youthful energy, sex and potential they are during their fantastic opening dance, into the violent, illogical creatures of chaos and tragedy they ultimately become.
This was not a movie to be read and analysed like a book, with plot points, character arcs, and "meaning", all delivered via the filmmaking tools and talents of screenplay, script, cinematographer, director, actor (though they of course are there, ultimately.) Climax was for me something to feel, in the pounding beats and music, in the kinetic, dynamic movements of the human body, and in the disembodied camera, whisking my consciousness from person to person, from room to room, as if I myself was trapped amidst the ensuing hedonism and horror.
The reason I think Climax deserves to be acclaimed for how it made me feel can I think be simply explained. Take the synopsis of the film, which in essence is: "a party takes a turn for the worse when group of dancers unwittingly consume a drink spiked with LSD". Sounds like a pretty cliched and obvious plot for a horror movie, I'd say. It would almost film itself. Get some actors, add some violence, throw the camera around, lay on some dance music.. easy, right?
Yet given such a concept, what are the chances of making something that felt so visceral, so real, that could make my own heart race and my mind start to believe I was actually there experiencing everything personally, including the exhilarating relief of coming out the other side somehow unscathed? Pretty damn low, and so all the more astonishing is what Gaspar Noe has achieved with Climax.
I will repeat, I can fully understand why some won't have had the experience with this movie that I did, but I think ultimately it's a movie that you feel, a truly experiential film, and that kind of emotional response can't be faked, or intellectually pieced together after the curtain has closed. You feel Climax, lose yourself in it, or it remains outside yourself an oddity and inaccessible.
Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:39 pm
The more I think about it, the more I think there is meaning in the film other than taking what is shown at face value. If you think of what happens as being a reflection of the current status of French society then it actually starts to become the director's most controversial movie yet. But perhaps this was obvious or maybe I'm reading into it too much? It seems I needed a day or so to take stock and for the old cogs to whir around in my head!
Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:39 pm
Does anyone have a link to real incident that influenced this movie?
Unless Gasper is having us on that this really happened...
Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:12 am