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It’s easy to say ‘provocateur.’ Indeed, ‘provocateur’ and Gaspar Noé seem to have become synonyms. And yet, those who only see the forest of the provocation seem never to want to get to the trees of cinema. Each of Noé’s films is an idea of cinema, explored obsessively and with great determination. With Vortex, possibly his most emotionally naked and most surprising work, he signs his paradoxically most ‘provoking’ film because it’s deliberately divested of the elements that used to drive his detractors mad. Only the split screen is left, seen already in the previous Lux Æterna. With the complicity of a ‘never-seen-before’ Dario Argento starring in the film along with the magnificent Françoise Lebrun, Vortex is the poem of the inescapable end. Only film can get so close to the end and envision it like the dawn. And only a natural born ‘provocateur director’ like Noé could hope and dare to move us by performing his most radical provocative act: reducing his cinema to the essential, to bring it to heart level and record all its secret pulses.
Giona A. Nazzaro