May 11, 2003
Irreversible

I saw Irreversible a while back. You know, Irreversible, the most ghastly experience you could ask for in a movie? The french one, that uses sub-sonic "white noise" of the sort employed by the US army to quell riots, in conjunction with a camera-man apparently addicted to somersaulting backward until there's something grotesque to zoom in on?

You've heard of it?

It's one of these movies that take place backwards. In this case, it's transparently a device employed to avoid the difficult work of writing a good script. Just take your shitty amateur job and re-order it so the revenge scene preceeds the inciting incident, and Voila ~ instant success!

Now, I find the "woh, so this is like, actually twenty minutes earlier" feeling disorienting in a novel enough way, but unless a film's actually about living life backwards, it can feel a little contrived.

If, however, what you want is to know exactly what it would look like for a person to have their skull bashed in by a fire extinguisher - in real time! - over the course of about forty seconds, with both a strobe light and the most debasing audio accompaniment known to Human-kind, you may have found your movie.

I left after this scene, so I can't say whether or not Irreversible redeemed itself. I can say if you're gonna resolve to make art that makes people feel nauseous, it is not astonishing. It isn't that difficult, or interesting. Don't get me wrong, you impress me, especially the way you get those teeth to fly out, and that nose to collapse, and the brain-like substance to ooze where the eyes used to be. But when my company decides they want their money back, I owe my allegiance to them, not you, and afterward, I don't feel bad.

After all, you apparently aren't a very nice person, and if you think about it, you're pretty full of shit.

Posted by at May 11, 2003 07:07 PM
Comments

I realize the second-person is something you're supposed to avoid, and that if you are going to use it, you should at least use it consistently, and here I've used it to ask you if you've seen a movie, and then to say you are full of shit. Basically, this is just the kind of thing that happens writing quickly (for a competition where quality is not at issue,) and it's also the reason I tend not to be able to blog daily, as I now feel I must.

Just trust me though - Irreversible's bad.

Posted by: on May 11, 2003 09:41 PM .

Guy, you saw "I Stand Alone", the other Gaspar No movie? You thought it was only mildly upsetting formally but made you feel as though your lunch was going to come out of your body from both ends as far as the narrative was concerned? You don't think composites of Cline characters belong in cinema? You didn't finish watching it? You have a hard time with the argument that guys like No and Michael Haneke are the only 'moral' filmmakers because their films aren't ideologically or emotionally facile? You sort of think making a film hard to watch is just as contrived and sleazy as the hermetic causal seal that keeps the Hollywood formula nice and tidy, even if the former is self-conscious?
You worry about the ramifications of prose quantity competitions on the content quality of two weblogs you enjoy a whole lot?

Posted by: TheDiscourse on May 12, 2003 12:32 AM .

My concern here is that you say "I saw Irreversible" at the beginning and "I left after [the first] scene" later on. Which one is it, pal?

Posted by: D on May 12, 2003 07:08 AM .

Shitty for me. Should read: "I *tried* to watch 'Irreversible' awhile back..."

There's nothing to say you can't review a movie you walked out on, is there?

Hey Discourse, you sayin' we're slipping?

Posted by: on May 12, 2003 09:55 AM .

i don't trust you --'irreversible' is my favourite film from last year.

Posted by: mutante on May 12, 2003 11:04 AM .

Dude! Movie of the year?!! How can that be?!!! Are you kidding me? (As an aside, I was there to see the glow on Mutante's face the night his thesis film caused someone in the audience to puke their guts out, so if he's not kidding, his comment isn't surprising to me).

I should clarify about Irreversible that my friends pressured me into leaving. I was a bit hung over, and the white noise thing was hurting my head, and unlike D, (who greatly enjoys the experience of puking,) I wanted to keep my meal down. So when my company told me they were going, I didn't put up a fight. I kept thinking: What, I'm supposed to stay around now for... A rape scene? And then, after that, would the artist kindly remove both of my thumbnails, please? You know?

Also, during the post-walk-out drinks, one of the people who dominated conversation seemed to really have it in for the french, and some of his remarks landed like scuds on the movie's reputation.

In general, I don't dig on sensing a superiority complex in a gross-out artist.

But had I stayed, I can't say with any certainty the movie wouldn't have redeemed itself. I doubt it, but I don't know.

So, you know, c'mon Mutante - don't stop trusting me man, I can't deal with it! First Y Mama Tambien, now this? What the fuck?!

Posted by: on May 12, 2003 12:30 PM .

ok, make that 'irreversible' is the most moving film i watched last year. it is so rare for a film to almost move me to tears. ok, granted, yes, the second scene, the one at the gay bar, is hard to sit through (although i was already really into the storyline after the conversation in the hotel room), as is the still camera rape scene half-way through the film. when i watched the film last summer, i remember feeling almost physically ill when sitting through that scene, my body temperature rising out of control. and then i remember getting nervous at what was coming: if the film's been this violent so far, what will the end scene be like? that was the saddest part of the film, it made me so sad to see them be so happy, and then know that that tenderness wasn't gonna be around by the end of the day. when the last screen reading Time Destroys Everything appeared i was feeling devastated.

on the other hand, yes, it is one scary piece of reactionary storytelling. that underworld of homosexuals and foreigners-cum-transvestites just destroyed the life of our perfect middle class couple. (and , before you jump at this, gaspar no is pretty vocal about these issues, pretty vocal about those foreigners whose strange ways of life has destroyed our french essence --not verbatim, but pretty much his words (there used to be a link to a couple of interviews with him at the fantasia film festival web page), words which sound pretty strange coming from an argentinian). but despite the politics, i found the film very moving and powerful. furthermore, i think it's got a quality rare in commercial films (it's got well-known actors and an A-budget, so i consider it a commercial film): its philosophical point of view is stated with clarity. even if i disagree with no's hold-my-hand-i'm-scared outlook on the world, i remember thinking about his film's conclussion for weeks.

so my advice to you is: go see this film on your own so you don't have to leave if your pansy-ass friends wanna walk out, and never again badmouth a film you walked out of after 10 minutes.

yes, Movie of the Year!

(an aside: i rented claire denis' Trouble Every Day a couple of weeks ago. now that one i had a hard time finding redeeming qualities in, other than the two nightmare sex scenes. and : if you rent denis' film you'll have to agree with me that white noise over a skull-bashing scene is preferable to the tindersticks over a cannibalism scene --the scene where vincent gallo gives literal meaning to the phrase 'eating pussy'.)

Posted by: mutante on May 12, 2003 04:01 PM .

Thanks, Mutante.

You know, we're always happy to hear from you up here in Canerder.

Jesus though, I don't want 'eating pussy' to have a literal meaning. In fact, that's the last thing in the world I want.

Sicko!

Posted by: on May 12, 2003 04:30 PM .

When's it hitting video?

Posted by: adampsyche on May 12, 2003 08:07 PM .

It's only temporarily out of stock here, and here, if you think you can own it. Maybe you want to - there seems to be no shortage of praise.

Other than going through European distribution houses, I've had a hard time getting a straight answer on American release.

The local Rep House, perhaps?

If I had to watch this movie again, access to volume control would be manditory. Torture's not really my thing.

Posted by: on May 13, 2003 12:30 AM .

A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature
replaces it with.
-- Tennessee Williams

Posted by: Party Poker on November 4, 2004 10:55 AM .

.

Posted by: mp3 on November 6, 2004 03:16 AM .
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