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Posted November 21, 2010 by William Dunmyer in Uncategorized
 
 

Enter the Void: Gaspar the Nazi is Back

After an eight-year break from movie-making, Gaspar the Nazi is back. Gaspar Noe, the world’s most homophobic filmmaker, is back with a film, “Enter the Void,” that once again depicts gay men as subhuman and describes anal sex in bizarrely detailed fashion. (Noe’s repulsion/fascination with anality would surely prick up Freud’s ears. You know what they say about homophobes.)

It is serious cause for concern that a filmmaker with almost overt Nazi-type viewpoints toward minorities would continue to get funding to produce films and for those films to get worldwide distribution. The Sundance Film Festival this year even showcased his work! There is something disturbing even about reviewing Noe’s work. It gives him legitimacy. But if his films continue to get shown and taken seriously by reputable outfits like Sundance and IFC Films, the U.S. distributor of Noe’s new film, then reviewers are going to have to at least comment on his work. But it does seem that Sundance and IFC Films have some explaining to do. Why would they continue to support this filmmaker and take his work seriously? Furthermore, where’s the global outcry against his work?

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“Enter the Void” isn’t as terrible as Noe’s previous film, “Irreversible” (2002). Noe still has an axe to grind against gay men, but he is learning how to make films. He also doesn’t peddle the homophobia quite so relentlessly this time. “Enter the Void” does hold one’s interest and does have an effective story. There also are some innovations with art direction and cinematography that have value. But these innovations are minor.

“Enter the Void” tells the story of a brother and sister who were orphaned at a young age. They are both now about 21, and the boy has moved to Tokyo. His sister has just arrived in the city for what appears to be an extended visit. The boy has drifted into heavy drug use and spends the whole first part of the film hallucinating. Noe does a fairly good job capturing the hallucinatory state. In fact, the entire film has a hallucinatory feel.

A tragedy befalls our youngster hero in the early part of the film, and flashbacks then provide us with answers as to how it happened. Of course, a gay man turns out to be responsible for the downfall of this lost but essentially wholesome straight boy. The film seems to pose this question: How will wholesome straight people ever survive in a world being taken over by “dirty” gay men? The word dirty is used in the film to describe gay men, followed by a detailed description of fecal material being involved in gay sex. The implication is that men become gay because they are attracted to fecal material. (Reminder: the gay bar that Noe imagines in “Irreversible” is called The Rectum. Where do you begin to do a psychoanalysis of a person like this? What is Noe struggling with inside himself and then projecting onto gay men?)

The film deepens when flashbacks are used to explain how the brother and sister were orphaned. These sequences are heart wrenching. They are a bit predictable and emotionally manipulative, but they create a deep emotional connection between the brother and sister characters, giving the film much more resonance than would otherwise have been the case. Noe proves effective as well in working with child actors.

Gradually the film turns its attention to the sister, and we watch as she gets work in Tokyo as a stripper. She also becomes the concubine of the man who owns the strip club. This leads to an unplanned pregnancy and an abortion filmed in lurid detail. Maybe Noe will focus his next film on the evils of abortion. I can’t wait for that. Noe appears to be as fascinated by dead fetuses as he is by fecal material and men’s rectums. What an artistic imagination.


William Dunmyer

 
William Dunmyer is a lifelong cinephile who fell in love with movies at about the age of 5. He lives in New York City.