LUX AETERNA (REVIEW)
Dir. Gaspar Noe
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Gaspar Noe is famed with not giving a shit about critics and delivering shock and awe through his films. Despite a library of drug induced visuals, gratuitous sex and horror, LUX AETERNA could prove his most divisive film yet, an irony as it's his most grounded and relatable work to date.
Set behind the scenes of the making of a fictional witch trial film, LUX AETERNA pivots around a disastrous shoot where language barriers, pig headed directors, and the well covered sexism that the industry enamours, there's something deeper in the subtexts of iconic film makers and the chaos that ensures on set which feels self derogatory.
At just 51 minutes in length, the narrative is chaotic and "off the wall" in such a way that this feels like an add on for a real film rather than a movie in its own right. As such, the interweaving quotes and flickers of wisdom on screen lack a much more meaningful pose against the backdrop of this behind the scenes footage. This is Noe and nobody does chaos like Noe and the final ten minutes of footage are nauseating, trance inducing flames with Charlotte Gainsborough's silhouette flickering against the flashing rage of a malfunctioning strobe light is a culmination and yet strange peace, from the onslaught of noise that came before.
There will be people who praise this as Noe's subtlety brings deeper meaning and a break from the grotesque he is known for, for others, it's a short changed piece of art that doesn't quite know how to make the journey to it's impactful conclusion. As ever, the jury remains out and this gives Noe his most open and readable to interpretation films in his expansive catalogue.