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Gaspar Noé Wins Biggest Directors’ Fortnight Prize With ‘Climax,’ One of the Best-Reviewed Films at Cannes

Noé's drug trip musical impressed critics at Cannes and is being hailed as the best film of the polarizing filmmaker's career.

"Climax"

“Climax”

Wild Bunch

Gaspar Noé has taken top honors at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, winning the Art Cinema Award for his critically acclaimed new film, “Climax.” The film, starring “Atomic Blonde” actress Sofia Boutella, centers around members of a dance troupe who descend into madness after they are all drugged at a celebration. “Climax” premiered May 13 at Cannes to instant raves from critics and audiences. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich called the film the best of Noé’s career so far in his A- review.

Other major Directors’ Fortnight winners include Gianni Zanasi’s “Lucia’s Grace” (Europa Cinemas Label), Pierre Salvadori’s “The Trouble With You” (SACD Prize), and Patrick Bresnan’s “Skip Day” (Illy Short Film Award).

Noé, whose previous films “Irréversible” and “Love” courted controversy for depicting graphic rape and sex scenes, was expecting a more polarizing reaction to “Climax.” Speaking to Vulture, the director said he’s gotten used to getting bad reviews, so much so that he’s started to enjoy when press is mean towards his work. Noé was surprised then when “Climax” premiered to near acclaim.

“[Critics] said it’s like a Busby Berkeley movie directed by Pasolini, or ‘Fame’ directed by the Marquis de Sade,” the director said. “I expected a worse response than my previous movies. The last movie I did had 85 percent negative press. On this one, I said, ‘I hope I get 90.’”

“Climax” was purchased by A24 shortly after its successfully Cannes debut. The indie distributor is expected to release the movie in theaters later this year.

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