Gaspar Noé films an elderly couple at the end of their lives with dignity in ‘Vórtice’

Present at the ephemeral Cannes 2021 Première section, which brought together filmmakers who had already competed in the past but were not selected, Gaspar Noé had presented Vortex comes out wednesday april 13. A film that stands out from his disturbing, even provocative, works with which he identifies: Irreversible, enter the void, Love, Climax… With the cult filmmaker Dario Argento, in a leading role, the actress and director Françoise Lebrun and Alex Lutz, Vortex moves to tears.

An elderly couple lives in their Paris apartment surrounded by the memories of a lifetime: overloaded bookshelves, piles of books and records on the floor, and a plethora of posters on the wall. He is a film historian who writes about the links between the 7th art and dreams, she is a retired psychiatrist suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Recluse, they live the last days of their love that has not aged a bit.

Reading the synopsis, one thinks of Love by Mickael Haneke (Palma d’Or 2012), where an elderly couple is also living their last days. But Vortex tells another story, with a very different visual and narrative approach. What unites the two films is the extreme sensitivity with which they deal with the same subject matter. Always in search of an extraordinary image, Gaspar Noé uses this time the split screen (separation of the screen into several planes) that he masters with amazing virtuosity, exposing two different points of view on the screen.

The Argento-Lebrun couple works as if it had always existed. First-time actor Dario Argento is incredibly truthful and Françoise Lebrun overwhelming. Alex Lutz, who plays his son, is, like all performances, surprisingly accurate. A perfect cast, in tune with the theme, the improvised setting on the set and the characters. Noah doesn’t write, he has it all in his head. great art. A fourth character would be the decoration of this apartment that seems to have been inhabited for a long time. It was actually created entirely in the studio. Because of its piling up, its accumulations, it is the testimony of a life.

Apparently calm, these last days are in fact tormented: a life strewn with storms that frays and whose memory is undone. That of the psychiatrist, afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease, and that of a film historian who, by dint of accumulating sources, ends up getting lost. The Vortex of the title refers to that whirlwind behind closed doors that these confined characters experience with their anger. Gaspar Noé captures it wonderfully, constantly relaunching his story full of dignity, even a final gesture, nihilistic, but not desperate.

Gender : Drama
director : Gaspar Noah
Actors : Dario Argento, Francoise Lebrun, Alex Lutz,
pay : France / Belgium / Monaco
Duration : 2h15
Exit : 13 April 2022
Distributor : wild bunch

Synopsis : An elderly couple lives in a Parisian apartment overwhelmed by books and memories. He is a cinephile, historian and film theorist who writes a book about the links between the 7th art and dreams. She, a retired psychoanalyst, has Alzheimer’s disease. In love and indispensable to each other, they will live their last days.

Leave a Comment