Gaspar Noé's 'Climax' wins top honor at Cannes Directors' Fortnight
Noé, whose films have been known to split opinion like none other, walked away with the top honor during the Cannes Directors' Fortnight
Gaspar Noé is not one to shy away from controversy. The Argentinean director is admittedly not everyone's cup of tea and his movies often polarize opinion; you either hate him or love him, there's no in-between. So, when his latest film Climax premiered at Cannes on May 13, the expectation from critics, as well as audience, was that it would incite yet another round of debate on whether Noé is a gifted genius or a hack.
Surprisingly, this time around, the verdict was unanimous: Climax is a work of art. Starring Atomic Blonde actress Sofia Boutella, the film follows a dance troupe's descent into madness after their sangria is drugged. Unable to cope with their neuroses and psychoses, most members slowly lose their mind.
Critics and audiences were both thoroughly impressed with Noé even walking away with the top honor from the Cannes Directors' Fortnight, the Art Cinema Award, for the film.
The director, who has a penchant for making so-called inflammatory remarks and is infamous for his disdain for critics, seemed more taken aback than pleased with his win.
Speaking to Vulture, he said: "[Critics] said it’s like a Busby Berkeley movie directed by Pasolini, or Fame directed by the Marquis de Sade. I expected a worse response than my previous movies. The last movie I did had 85 percent negative press. On this one, I said, 'I hope I get 90.'"
To those who are fans of Noé's works, the sentiment would not have come as too much of a surprise. Two of his previous films, Irreversible and Love, received a lot of flak for their graphical portrayal of rape and sex.
His seemingly demeaning response to critics of Irreversible who termed the movie "the most homophobic film ever made" added fuel to the fire. He stated at the time, "I'm not homophobic. I appear in Irreversible, masturbating at the gay club."
Staying true to his colors, Noé had a few controversial opinions to share at the Cannes. Talking about Black Panther in an interview with Variety, he said, "I tried Black Panther. I escaped from the cinema after 20 minutes. I thought it was as bad as Star Wars. I hated Star Wars. I hated the R&B music in Black Panther. The music was so bad that I had to escape."
Other winners at the Directors' Fortnight were Gianni Zanasi’s Lucia’s Grace (Europa Cinemas Label), Pierre Salvadori’s The Trouble With You (SACD Prize), and Patrick Bresnan’s Skip Day (Illy Short Film Award).