Little is known about Gaspar Noé’s surprise new film “Vortex,” his seventh film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, other than the fact that it stars filmmaker Dario Argento, centers on an elderly couple in their last days, and also unfolds entirely in split screen. To offer up a taste of the “Climax” and “Irreversible” provocateur’s latest, IndieWire shares an exclusive new clip from the film, about to premiere in France, below.
On the nature of his new film, the “Enter the Void” director said, “These are two forms of life that are not shared but they are complimentary. Each one is living in their own tunnel, but each one is interlaced with the other one. Life is a bit like that. The only true reality is the addition of all the perceptions of it.”
With regard to the visual approach, he said, “Originally I didn’t think I’d do the whole movie with a split screen. I started shooting with two cameras and then with only one single camera. Then I realized, what the fuck, I should’ve shot with two cameras if I wanted to keep it with the split screen for the whole movie. So we had to reshoot some scenes and the missing parts. I’m very happy we did that.”
Noé’s decision to present the movie in split screen was partly inspired by Paul Morrissey’s 1982 film “Forty Deuce” starring Kevin Bacon as a male prostitute in Manhattan opposite Orson Bean. But Noé worked in the format previously, which helped prepare him for doing an entire film that way.
“I enjoyed doing the parts of ‘Lux Aeterna’ in split screen and a triple screen. Then I did another commercial for Yves Saint Laurent that was also split screen,” he said. “Here I wasn’t sure at all that I would keep it. Sometimes when you start editing a movie it starts to shape its own personality. It’s like a baby with its own needs. In the editing room, the movie is forcing you to do things because it’s in evidence once you have the material.”
Finally, his advice on experiencing the movie? “In this case you may be surprised by the first takes of the split screen but after a minute you forget it. Your eyes are moving from the left to the right all the time. People have told me the second time they see the movie they’re rediscovering it.”
No U.S. distributor has been revealed yet. Wild Bunch is handling sales.