‘Irrevérsible’ director Gaspar Noé has never been afraid of controversy, and ‘Climax’ is no different. Cranking up the decibels, and with nausea-inducing camera work, it’s a sensual overload that will have your heart pounding.
Opening with the final credits – as you do – it launches into a series of video interviews with a French dance troupe (including French-Algerian actress and dancer Sofia Boutella) who are trying out for a US tour. Flanking the retro TV screen that frames the interviews are books and films (look out for a copy of Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’) that hint at the chaos to come.
We’re next catapulted into a dance rehearsal at a remote residency on the outskirts of Paris. The action is captured in one long, mesmerising take, shifting hypnotically from one dancer to the next. Then comes the after-party. Sangria is served, but there is a strange atmosphere in the room. It quickly dawns on the dancers that the punch has been spiked with LSD.
Inventive and seductive, this infernal chamber piece will be sure to divide opinion. The camera plunges into the chaos, melding physical theatre with a palette of fiendish reds and impish greens, all accompanied by throbbing techno. Part musical, part political treatise, and with more than a wink to Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, Noé is at his most decadent and devilish.