It is now almost a quarter of a century and six feature films since Gaspar Noé, the 58-year-old Franco-Argentinian director, took on the outcast of the naughty rascal in a French cinema, drinking it in his cosmos Visions (Enter the void2010) and his youthful provocations (Alone against everyone, 1999; Irreversible, 2002). whirlchronicling the disintegration of an old married couple whose wife suffers from Alzheimer’s changes the situation, however much the formal adventure – a canvas divided in two, with each spouse occupying his half of the frame – meets here in an intimate way a deep emotion connected with the cinematic process (“Cinema is death at work”, said Cocteau).
The double-screen process takes on its full meaning when one of the two characters leaves their frame, leaving nothing but emptiness in their wake…
The empty frame thing is exactly how I felt when my mother died. I didn’t expect it, it was the first time this had happened to me with someone so close to me. For me, what we call grief was that: the feeling that there is a hole in space. And this hole, you carry it around with you for months. I could have filled that half of the image with a different character, but I chose not to in order to preserve this glaring omission.
We feel that Vortex marks a turning point in your filmography with its more realistic approach.
This is maybe the most down to earth film I’ve made. On the last line of the last page of the scenario it was written: “It’s a very banal story. » This experience of parental implosion and the disintegration of the homeland described in the film affects all families, all countries in the world, all social classes. We are all programmed to lose our parents at some point.
When did the need to make this film arise?
Most of all, what I needed was to be late in paying my taxes! At the end of 2019 I had a brain hemorrhage. I had to spend a whole year at home, that of confinement, watching movies on Blu-ray and DVD. Well I was the happiest of men, I felt like I was in puberty! But I was in debt and had to shoot. Vincent Maraval and Edouard Weil [ses producteurs historiques] asked me if I had an idea for a film behind closed doors. It’s been a long time since I wanted to do one about elderly people losing their use of language while their grandson is discovering it. It was the perfect opportunity.
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