Gaspar Noénote (born December 27, 1963 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) is an Argentine-French director based in France who is considered one of the biggest names attached to both the euroshlock and New French Extremity film movements, which gives you some insight into what type of films he specializes in making.
Noé's works often use the same techniques, including intense subject matter, a thematic focus on nihilism and/or existentialism, and experimental cinematography. These elements combine to make cinematic experiences that aim to confront and disturb as much as dazzle and stun, and routinely generate polarized reactions and strong controversy.
This is a reputation Noé has seemingly embraced whole-heartedly as part of his public persona; the French DVD for Irréversible proudly declares the number of walkouts at its premiere, one of the posters◊ for Climax is directly from the perspective of him as a nefarious Trolling Creator, and he once expressed disappointment in an interview that the latter film didn't cause more walkouts.
Aside from his features, Noé has a healthy backlog of short films under his belt, as well as music videos for the likes of Animal Collective, Placebo, and Nick Cave among others. He has also written, produced, and at least co-edited almost all of his features.
He has gone on record stating that Stanley Kubrick is his chief directorial influence, namely through 2001: A Space Odyssey, which single-handedly inspired him to become a director after watching it at 7.
Films he directed:
- Tintarella di luna (short; 1985)
- Pulpe amère (short; 1987)
- Carne (short; 1991)
- Une expérience d'hypnose télévisuelle (short; 1995)
- Sodomites (short; 1998)
- I Stand Alone (feature; 1998)
- Intoxication (short; 2002)
- Irréversible (feature; 2002)
- Eva (short; 2005)
- SIDA (short; 2006, part of the anthology film 8)
- We Fuck Alone (short; 2006, part of the anthology film Destricted)
- 42 (short; 2009)
- Enter the Void (feature; 2009)
- Ritual (short; 2012, part of the anthology film 7 Days in Havana)
- Shoot (short; 2014, part of the anthology film Short Plays)
- Love (feature; 2015)
- Climax (feature; 2018)
- Lux Aeterna (medium film for Saint Laurent "SELF" campaign; 2019)
- Summer of '21 (short for Saint Laurent; 2021)
- Vortex (feature; 2021)
Tropes that apply to Gaspar Noé include:
- Amazing Technicolor World: Enter the Void (set in Japan), Love, and Noé's music video work.
- Call-Back: Each film starts with something distinctive from the previous one.
- The plot of Carne is issued as a photo montage at the start of I Stand Alone.
- Irreversible starts with a closing credits sequence that looks identical to that of I Stand Alone, but runs in reverse. The first scene presented in Irreversible is also an epilogue to I Stand Alone.
- The grating noise (a song called "The End") and strobing text that closes Irreversible also opens Enter the Void.
- Love opens with a scene where a man ejaculates, like in the final scene in Enter the Void. Extra plus is that Enter the Void ended in a Love Hotel filled with people having sex, which is pretty much all Love is about (a model of the Love Hotel from Enter the Void is seen in the bedroom at the beginning of the film.)
- Climax starts out with the Gary Numan's electronic cover of the first movement of Erik Satie's "Gymnopedie", whereas Love ends with the acoustic cover of it. The movie also has that flashy, font-style changing credit sequence from Enter the Void.
- The character of Lui in Vortex is said to be writing a book called 'Psyche', which shares it's name with a character in Climax.
- Crapsack World: Though never stated outright in-universe, each film gives its own sense of dread about the particular nastiness of the world it's set in.
- Dizzy Cam: The camera tends to do this quite a bit.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: I Stand Alone is shot in a noticeably different style than the two films that showcase Noé's Signature Style (and made him famous, to boot.) Noé's sense of editing is left intact, however.
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: Noe's use of strobing lights and imagery in his films can certainly trigger seizures in those with photosensitive epilepsy. Strobing text, a strobing lamp within a scene, even the full screen strobing, is all common in his works.
- He Also Did: He shot the cover for Sky Ferreira's debut album Night Time, My Time.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Irreversible contains this for I Stand Alone: The Butcher slept with his autistic daughter and went to jail for it.
- Lighter and Softer: Love is a couple shades lighter than his previous work, but only for including a lot of warm colours and sexual intercourse.
- In terms of content, Vortex is much lighter than most of his works, as it's completely free from sex, violence, and Sensory Abuse. However, in terms of story and themes, it is as dark and intense as his more notorious works.
- Male Frontal Nudity: Brief scenes of a penis feature in Irreversible and Enter the Void; it gets considerably more attention in Love.
- The Oner: His works are known for lengthy shots, such as the rape scene in Irreversible and the conversation leading up to the drug bust in Enter the Void, and almost the entire second half of Climax. His music videos and shorts are also oners:
- SebastiAn's "Love in Motion" follows a teenage girl while she dances around her room, and "Thirst" is about a man being beaten up in a nightclub after making unwanted advances to a woman.
- Animal Collective's "Applesauce" is a close-up of a silhouetted woman eating a juicy apple.
- Nick Cave's "We No Who U R" is a shadowy figure walking through the woods at night.
- His short Shoot shows a long one take first-person view of a street soccer match....from the perspective of the soccer ball.
- Production Posse:
- Noé enlisted Daft Punk member Thomas Bangalter to create the score for Irreversible, Enter the Void and Climax. As Bangalter was busy with TRON: Legacy when he was called for Enter the Void, he instead provided a giant library of ambient sounds and excerpts of industrial/electroacoustic/musique concrète compositions, all of which is present in the film.
- Cinematographer Benoît Debie is responsible for the lushness of visuals seen in Noè's filmography from Irreversible onwards.
- Tom Kan is the designer behind the logo-filled opening credits of Enter the Void and Climax.
- The cast of Lux Aeterna, save for the leads Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg, is mostly populated by actors and crew members who were involved in his previous films, mostly from Love and Climax.
- Sensory Abuse: His films often employs this, either through visuals, camerawork, and sounds.
- Signature Style: Seen in all but his first film, which only contains the title cards; Love and Lux Aeterna, which kept the font but put all the text at the end. Most of these are notably absent in Vortex, except for the realism, lengthy takes, and credits that opens the film.
- Title cards written in a distinctive font.
- Strobing lights. In Lux Aeterna, the first and last 15 minutes of the film are laid with nonstop RGB strobe lights.
- Strobing text.
- Lengthy takes.
- Experimental, dizzying camera movements.
- Realism in characters, often achieved by casting non-actors, with actions going all the way up to unsimulated sex.
- Extreme violence.
- Divisive subject matter.
- The closing credits also open his films.
- Split Screen: His recent works Lux Aeterna, Summer of '21, and Vortex utilizes this technique to show other angles and perspectives at the same time.
- Take That, Critics!: Noé cast himself as a highly visible masturbator inside the gay club The Rectum in Irreversible as a way of saying that he wasn't better than homosexuals, since he knew he'd get called out on it when the film premiered (which he was.)
- Violence Is Disturbing: He is very fond of this—the violence featured in his movies is always graphic and revolting. Irreversible in particular features a brutal rape scene that goes on, uninterrupted, for nine minutes.