Climax, Dir. Gaspar Noé, France, 2018, 96 mins, French with English subtitles
Opening with a screening of audition videos introducing a group of young dancers preparing to tour through France and the USA, this aggressively shot film makes dramatic shifts from extended choreographies that bristle with electricity, into much more troubling territory. Undercurrents of racial and sexual violence surface between performers when it emerges that the sangria they’ve been drinking during an all-night celebration has been laced with LSD. The encounters that follow combine dialogue and psychedelic visual sensation.
From director Gaspar Noé, notorious for plunging the viewer full throttle into violent hells of human capacity, Climax is a fast-paced 1990s horror with a soundtrack featuring Daft Punk and Aphex Twin. Shot in co-production with Vice in a matter of 15 days, besides its star Sofia Boutella, the cast of 20 non-professional dancers make their on-screen debuts here.
Following Noé’s sexually explicit 3D picture Love (2015), and drug dealing melodrama Enter the Void (2009), Climax picked up the Art Cinema Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.