Debuting to widespread acclaim at Cannes 2021, Vortex is a radical departure from Gaspar Noé's previous films, perhaps influenced by the fact that the director suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage in 2020. Often considered extreme in his approach, this new film is less overtly showing than any that have come before - Enter The Void, Climax, Irreversible - but it pushes boundaries all the same. Although as technically accomplished and experimental in its construction, Vortex deals with its challenging subject in a quiet but equally devastating way.
A tender exploration of ageing, death and dementia, Vortex stars giallo maestro Dario Argento as Father and La Maman et la putain star Françoise Lebrun as Mother, an elderly couple spending their days in a cramped Paris apartment. Noé presents the film entirely in split-screen, portraying the couple going about their lives while the wife slowly slips into dementia. Their day is uneventful but compelling nonetheless, and their tenderness so familiar it's heartbreaking. Even in Noé's darkest films there are flashes of tenderness, and here he fully embraces it: a powerful and personal exploration of aging that lingers long in the memory, Vortex is an outstanding new film from a remarkable filmmaker.
Information published by Leisure and Culture Dundee.
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