Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Enter the Void (2009)

Equal parts fascinating and downright annoying, Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void felt a bit like watching someone apathetically exploring Second Life, zooming around at roof level, occasionally plonking themselves down in bizarre environments in order to catch the middle of half-grasped dialogue, before hitting Page Up again and floating off.

V compared it to the closing sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which had the advantage of being the back end of an otherwise narratively-conventional movie. She'd completely tuned out of its trippy visuals after about thirty minutes, though she told me to wake her up for the bit inside the vagina.

I'd been looking forward to this — the whole movie, not just the womb-cam sequence — because Tokyo is one of those places that has engendered a certain existential malestar in me, and a film located there and bearing such a title, indeed looked like a promising way of experiencing those same goose-bumps again.

Many of the resident foreigners I met in the Japanese capital last May were in a sense addicts, Japan-addicts, some of them aware that this addiction was potentially harmful on several levels, spiritual as well as physical.

The vices that Noé's characters embed themselves in are of course not in the least adventitious in this city, yet nor are they location-specific enough to have really piqued my interest. I can get a stronger fix from the photographs in Tokyo Clash, a half-sized coffee table book I keep in the downstairs loo, and although I've never been a cheer-leader for Lost in Translation it does provide an eerily detached, through-the-glass window perspective on the unsettling arousal that emanates from this metropolis. It might not be a place which offers to take the visitor's soul — the locals are polite but not very reachable — yet somehow seems able to implant the suggestion at the back of his or her mind that they free to go out and misplace it.

Do go see Irréversible before you see Enter the Void. The danger of slumber is significantly less, and you won't be carrying memories of carried over techniques, such as the throbby-whirry score, which Noé has deployed again here.

Grade: B(+-)

No comments: