Twenty Years Later, ‘Irreversible’ Still Shocks

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’ Still Shocks

A look back at Gaspar Noé’s brutal told-in-reverse drama, which has been rereleased in a “ Straight Cut ” phiên bản .

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A woman walks down a tunnel with red walls.Monica Bellucci as Alex in “ Irreversible : Straight Cut. ” This phiên bản envisions the night of Alex’s assault in chronological order .

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Emily De La Hosseray / Altered Innocence

March 7, 2023

In bed with her lover, Alex ( Monica Bellucci ) recounts a dream : “ I was in a tunnel. All red. And then the tunnel broke in half. ” In any other thriller, this uncanny vision would play lượt thích a warning for things phệ come. But in “ Irreversible, ” the moment arrives toward the over, well after Alex enters the red tunnel và is brutalized by a random man — an indelible scene at the heart of Gaspar Noé’s infamous rape-revenge film, released trăng tròn years ago this week .“ Irreversible ” envisions the night of Alex’s assault in reverse chronological order. First, her boyfriend, Marcus ( Vincent Cassel ), goes on a rampage through the streets of Paris in tìm kiếm of the culprit. Then the tunnel. Then the buổi tiệc ngọt that Alex will decide bự leave by herself. Then the couple’s cozy, Edenlike apartment — a space that will không bao giờ be the same .“ By reversing the formula, ‘ Irreversible ’ strips away the unspoken lô ghích that dominates these kinds of films. It forces us phệ question the entire relationship between rape & revenge, ” Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, a critic và the author of numerous books on rape-revenge movies, wrote in an tin nhắn .Though the film was always conceived as a story in reverse, it was shot chronologically, which allowed Noé Khủng assemble a mới ra phiên bản, the “ Straight Cut, ” that flips the order of events into linear phút giây. “ Irreversible : Straight Cut ” is currently playing in theaters in the United States, & will be released, along with the original cut, on Blu-ray in July thanks lớn the cult distributor Altered Innocence. “ In a way, the mới ra phiên bản is both more sentimental & darker, ” Noé said in a video clip interview, explaining that it emphasizes the pointlessness of Marcus’s vengeance-seeking .When “ Irreversible ” came out in 2003, Noé had already made a name for himself as a provocateur who liked his films mean và loud. His debut feature, “ I Stand Alone ” ( 1998 ), revolves around an incestuous horse-meat butcher with a murderous streak. Noé’s films — lượt thích “ Enter the Void ” ( 2010 ) or “ Climax ” ( 2019 ) — are descents into gruesome hells featuring extreme body toàn thân horror, abrasive techno-tunes, & delirious whirligig camera movements .With “ Irreversible, ” Noé took several of his formative influences — taboo titles lượt thích “ Deliverance ” và “ Taxi Driver, ” which hinge on the male crusade for retribution — và cranked them up bự match the immersive feel of reality-bending epics lượt thích “ 2001 : A Space Odyssey. ” For Noé, some acts of violence are as equally capable of shattering worlds as glitches in the space-time continuum .ImageVincent Cassel in “ Irreversible : Straight Cut. ” A wild-eyed, macho intensity — the actor’s trademark — is on đầy đủ display in the film .

Credit …

Emily De La Hosseray / Altered Innocence

Set in then-modern-day Paris, the film also starred some of the country’s biggest talents. Bellucci & Cassel, a couple at the giây phút, were lượt thích the French equivalent of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman ; Albert Dupontel — who plays Pierre, Alex’s bookish ex-boyfriend, witness bự Marcus’s spiraling rage — was beloved for his popular comedies. Without their involvement, Noé noted, the film wouldn’t have received funding .+ Plus, their participation bolstered the movie’s shocks — who could imagine the steely Italian supermodel-turned-actress so sánh graphically pulverized ? Dupontel snapping & beating a man phệ a pulp ? Cassel — well, his unhinged Marcus made sense. In “ La Haine ” ( 1996 ), the modern classic about police brutality in the Parisian banlieues, Cassel played a wannabe gangster, in one scene pointing a finger-gun at himself in the mirror à la Travis Bickle in “ Taxi Driver. ” This same wild-eyed, macho intensity — the actor’s trademark — is on đầy đủ display in “ Irreversible. ”“ The film is testosterone-phobic. It shows men as beasts, ” Noé said. Indeed, the world of “ Irreversible ” is one of primitive brutes. In one scene, Marcus enters Rectum, a hardcore gay club, tumbling lao dốc a crimson rabbit hole filled with leather-clad men, bondage swings & chain restraints, maniacally searching for the assailant. His madness is infectious, inciting Pierre into action, which results in an innocent man’s face turned phệ bloody mush. They’re in a B.D.S.M. club — a real one whose clients served as extras — so sánh the onlookers watch in fascination & shout excitedly as the two men attack. It’s an unforgettably sinister moment, one that the director Damien Chazelle pays homage phệ in his latest film, “ Babylon, ” when Tobey Maguire’s drug-addled criminal kingpin leads a tour through a cave of depravities. “ He told me he needed bự meet me because he copied me ! ” Noé said, referring mập an encounter with Chazelle in Paris .But for many people, nothing in “ Irreversible ” surpasses the horrors of its most talked-about scene. Shot on location in a real underpass frequented by prostitutes at the outskirts of Paris ( the passage has since been demolished ), the rape sequence is lượt thích the eye of a storm in a film distinguished by its frenzied visuals. “ Moving the camera around would have felt lượt thích it was participating in the violence, lượt thích it was the ghost of some other complicit man, ” Noé said. The rapist ( Jo Prestia ) puts a knife phệ Alex’s throat, forcing her Khủng comply kết thúc the course of nine excruciatingly long minutes. The mostly static camera makes us hyper-aware of our passivity as spectators ; but unlike the faceless figure in the distance whom we briefly see stumbling upon the rape & choosing lớn walk away, we’re forced Khủng watch .No intimacy coordinators were involved on mix — in the early 2 ngàn s, the profession was nonexistent — but the scene was actively rehearsed, with all the actors ’ movements mapped out mập create the illusion of a beating. “ It was kind of lượt thích a dance, ” Bellucci said end the phone, emphasizing how empowering it felt for her bự be able mập enact the experience from a place of total control .The cinema of toxic masculinity long precedes the current era, though discourses around gender & the various institutional reckonings with sexual violence allows us Khủng consider films lượt thích “ Taxi Driver, ” và, indeed, “ Irreversible, ” with fresh eyes. Recent films lượt thích “ The Northman ” — a brutal Viking thriller keenly aware of the delusions that underpin the hero’s quest for vengeance, & Patricia Mazuy’s “ Saturn Bowling, ” a serial-killer movie in which femicide is treated lượt thích a sport — seem béo have taken up the mantle, critiquing the patriarchy by presenting it at its most monstrous .“ I couldn’t make ‘ Irreversible ’ today, ” Noé said, adding that he believes financiers are more inclined Khủng tư vấn movies about sexual violence by women filmmakers. Noé praised up-and-comers in the art of subversion, namely the Swedish director Isabella Ekloff. Her film “ Holiday ” is an unconventional rape-revenge film itself, its centerpiece also a disturbingly lengthy assault .“ I grew up watching transgressive movies because I saw them as a challenge from men bự see if I was tough enough, ” Heller-Nicholas wrote. “ Now, I’m blown away by the number of sexual assault survivors I’ve encountered who find these movies cathartic. ”Rape-revenge movies lượt thích “ Irreversible ” show that there can be more bự the depiction of gendered violence than the easy thrill of looking at brutalized female bodies. Nothing about the “ Irreversible ” rape scene feels exciting or titillating ; & nothing about Marcus’s actions feels powerful or heroic .“ Today, the mới nhất generation feels more comfortable talking about issues lượt thích rape & violence, ” Bellucci said, adding that her days of acting in transgressive movies are behind her now that she’s a mother. “ ‘ Irreversible ’ is about our reality in a very painful way, và you don’t have Khủng lượt thích it, but lượt thích the best films, you watch it & you come out a different person. ”AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

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