Paris (AFP) – The latest shocker by cinematic bad boy Gaspar Noe — whose 3D sex scenes in his last film “Love” saw it banned in Russia — is set to push the boundaries when it is premiered at the Cannes film festival next month.
“Climax” will be shown in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the festival alongside a “heartbreaking” documentary about Gaza and a drama about a young Tunisian who leaves home to join the Islamic State in Syria.
Little is known about Noe’s follow-up to “Love”, which was also briefly pulled from French cinemas after a court challenge by Catholic groups, but the section’s director Edouard Waintrop told AFP that it was “quite something… and highly sensual”.
The Franco-Argentine provocateur caused an outcry in 2002 with “Irreversible”, which US critic Roger Ebert called “a movie so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable.”
A 10-minute rape scene with Monica Bellucci was both praised and attacked by feminists and Noe also faced allegations of homophobia.
Spanish-language and French films dominate this year’s line-up for the Directors’ Fortnight, which often uncovers more gems than the official Cannes competition itself, like the Oscar-nominated “Florida Project” last year.
Romain Gavras — son of the Greek great Costa-Gavras — has assembled a star-studded French cast including Vincent Cassel and Isabelle Adjani for his dark crime caper “Le monde est a toi” (The World Is Yours).
Waintrop said Adjani plays the “queen of the thieves” in the thriller “which is also full of laughs”.
Fellow French icon Gerard Depardieu is an old colonial hand in post-war Vietnam, then French Indochina, in “Les confins du monde”, while Nicolas Cage plays a hippie who takes terrible revenge on a religious cult which kills his wife and crucifies him in “Mandy”, which was already shown at Sundance.
– Tears, guns and Peter Pan –
Directors’ Fortnight opens on May 9 with the highly-anticipated new film by Colombian Ciro Guerra, who was nominated for an Oscar two years ago for “Embrace of the Serpent”.
“Birds of Passage”, which is co-directed by Cristina Gallego, is a story about how some of the country’s indigenous Wayuu people have been drawn into drug smuggling.
A second film set in Colombia, “Los silencios”, is directed by the Brazilian Beatriz Seigner.
Waintrop predicted that a highly original, partially animated documentary about Gaza, “Samouni Road”, by the Italian Stefano Savona, would move audiences. “It is hard to watch without a tear,” he told reporters.
Tunisian director Mohamed Ben Attia of “Hedi” fame is also back with “Weldi”, about a father trying to trace his son who has run away to join the Islamic State group.
Waintrop also raved about “Buy Me a Gun”, the latest offering from “Gasolina” director Julio Hernandez Cordon, which Waintrop described as a “Mexican mix of Mad Max and Peter Pan set in the not too distant future”.
And he also hailed the “magnificent” and potentially politically explosive “Petra”, from the Barcelona-born director Jaime Rosales.
“It is a wonderful film of great cruelty,” Waintrop said of the movie which plays on linguistic tensions in Catalonia.
“I find his vision of Catalonia very realistic. The masters of Catalonia these days are the Catalans, the language of the masters is Catalan and (in the film) we see the master is a Catalan and those underneath him speak Spanish,” he said.
In a shot at the rival main festival, he said, “I do not understand why it was not included in the main competition (for the Palme d’Or top prize).”
If they had not had to limit the selection this year to 20 films for security reasons, Waintrop said he would also have included a new Saudi Arabian film, which he didn’t name, and a second Chinese feature.
Instead Ming Zhang’s “The Pluto Moment”, which Waintrop described as “extremely impressive”, will be the sole Chinese entry in what he maintained was a vintage year.