Noé’s mockumentary about a movie shoot going horribly wrong goes … horribly wrong
Gaspar Noé has followed up last year’s festival smash Climax with this insufficiently diverting anti-climax, showing in Cannes as a special screening out of competition. It is a 52-minute novella-proportioned sketch, all about a movie shoot going horribly wrong. Commissioned to make a quarter-hour TV ad for Yves Saint Laurent, the director persuaded his sponsors to let him pump it up to something bigger, but not that much bigger – something that might qualify as cinema for Cannes, with people dressed in YSL.
Lux Æterna shows Noé reverting to the self-parodic silliness that Climax had taken him past. We get his trademark extended epilepsy-inducing strobe-light effects, and at the beginning, Noé flashes up a quotation from Dostoevsky: “You all, healthy people, can’t imagine the happiness we epileptics feel during the second before our fit …” We get more dark corridors, more claustrophobia, hysteria, madness and the threat of violence – here coded in comic terms. No drugs, though. Perhaps YSL wasn’t on board with that.