French provocateur Gaspar Noé shifts gears with this formally daring but unexpectedly tender look at an elderly couple coping with physical decline and mortality.
Fans of Gaspar Noé have come to expect stylistic fireworks and boundary-pushing content from the notorious auteur. In perhaps his most shocking turn of all, Noé has forgone neon-drenched sex and violence to deliver a sobering, sensitive examination of old age. To play the elderly couple at the center of VORTEX, Noé cast two cinema legends: Italian giallo maestro Dario Argento as a film critic and The Mother and the Whore star Françoise Lebrun as a retired psychiatrist. Using a split-screen effect for most of its runtime, the film follows the couple around their crowded Paris apartment, which is densely packed with the books and objects they’ve accumulated over decades of life together. Tiny mishaps become nail-biting dramas as Noé tracks the slow decline of Lebrun’s character, who is showing signs of dementia, as well as the couple’s refusal to acknowledge the worst even as their situation deteriorates. Though more restrained than anything Noé has done before, VORTEX is nonetheless a harrowing portrait of life in the shadow of death.
CAST: Françoise Lebrun, Dario Argento, Alex Lutz
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