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Gaspar Noé - Biography

Gaspar Noé is a Franco-Argentine filmmaker. Gaspar is the son of the famous Argentine painter Luis Felipe Noé. Gaspar was born on. December 27, 1963 in Buenos Aires. Gaspar Noé and his parents fled the country in 1976. He is currently working in France. Gaspar Noé's films are known for their graphic and intensive violence, a feature that has attracted considerable controversy. Some critics have described his films as experiments which test the audience's ability to face the darker side of the human condition, which Gaspar Noé believes is the truth masked behind a hypocritical façade of normality.

When his films screen in the festivals, the success of the film is gauged by the director by the outrage and heckling he receives, whereby he knows he has succeeded if it is strong enough. Gaspar Noé's films are associated with the New French Extremity, a style of filmmaking featuring violence and perversion which questions the boundary separating the psychotic and the socially acceptable. Other directors who are part of the New French Extremity include François Ozon, Bruno Dumont, and Catherine Breillat. Gaspar’s favorite film is 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), he says the film was akin to his first drug trip. Often Gaspar’s film show a clear relation to the melodramatic, of which he has the following to say:

Life’s melodramatic. I cry very often. I cry very often. I think for one second about my parents’ death, I start crying, my eyes fill up with tears. If you fall in love, the more you fall in love with someone, the more afraid you are of losing the person, you have this obsession, and you turn shaky. I am very mammal. You have to be very brainy to ensure tranquillity isn’t broken, because shit happens on the set, everyone is fighting for themselves on the set, but at the end the mammal aspects of your brain are the ones which are the most universal.

Gaspar Noé arrived on the international film scene with his short Carne (1991). The film was quickly followed with his first feature film, Stand Alone about a working class butcher who may or may not have sexually abused his institutionalized daughter. Following these works Gaspar created what is perhaps the most famous film he has done as of yet, Irreversible, a story of a revenge killing told in reverse chronology. The film is influenced by A Clockwork Orange, I Am Cuba, the rape in Deliverance and Straw Dogs. The film utilizes sound effects to induce a feeling of anxiety and discomfort in the audience. It attained notoriety for a nine-minute rape scene shot in one continuous take. When the movie premiered at Cannes nearly 200 people walked out during this scene. The character Alex, played by Monica Bellucci, is raped in an underground tunnel by La Tenia, which is a major plot point around which the film turns. Traumatic experiences such as this are what Gaspar Noé feels in many cases defines a person's life. Many viewers found the scene to go too far in its realism and brutality. The whirling visual style of the film, shot predominantly with hand-held cameras, makes for a challenging film experience. Gasper Noe says in response to critiques of the violence in the film:

Violence is in life; it's part of human experience. I had problems with the French critics, because they don't like seeing France portrayed in this way. Interestingly though, most of the people who are offended have not been women, but men.

Gaspar Noé's latest film, Enter the Void, is set in contemporary Tokyo, a location he chose for its surreal aspects and its fascination with sex. The story is about a drug dealer and his sister, who is a stripper. Most of the film takes place within the spectral afterlife of the main character, having died in the first twenty minutes. In spite of this storytelling device, Gaspar Noé has stated that he does not believe in an afterlife. The movie was a big budget underground film that Gaspar says could only have been made in Europe. Gaspar Noé's drug use was an influental aspect to the making of Enter the Void. In an interview Gaspar says:

One day, in my 20s, I was with friends, and had done too many mushrooms, I turned on the TV as I was coming down, and it was showing Lady in the Lake, the Robert Montgomery film noir that’s filmed entirely through the character’s eyes. I wasn’t so much hallucinating at that point, but I thought it would be great to make a movie like this and add all the experiences I had today on mushrooms — telepathic perception, strange colors around people, the sense of floating.

John McEntee writes the following about Enter the Void:

Connoisseurs of extreme and outré cinema rather arrogantly adopt a posture of being unshockable, of having seen it all before these days, a gauntlet that Noé’ has passionately grasped with this psychedelic fever dream, an almost distressing viewing experience both in terms of its grievous subject matter and nausea-inducing visual construction. Make no mistake, this film is harder than a diamond dildo.

Gaspar Noé is the writer and director of Tintarella di luna (1985), Pulpe amère (1987), Carne (1991), Une expérience d'hypnose télévisuelle (1995), Seul contre tous (1998), Irréversible (2002), the segment "SIDA" in 8 (2008), and Enter the Void (2009). He is also the director of Sodomites (1998) and the segment "We Fuck Alone" in Destricted (2006). In several of his films, he has also worked as producer, editor, and cinematographer.

Gaspar Noé received the Critic's Award in 1994 at the Fifth Yubari International Film Festival. He is married to Lucile Hadzihalilovic, who is a fellow filmmaker.



Gaspar Noé was a Professor of Film at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducted an Intensive Summer Workshop.