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Gaspar Noé turns a chaotic film shoot into psychedelic sensory overload

Gaspar Noé is synonymous with visually stunning psychedelic cinema, as the Argentinian director has continued to increase maximalism in the decade since the release of his 2009 film ‘Enter the Void’.Lux Aeterna“, perhaps his most excessive project to date. Exclusive to IndieWire, watch the official trailer below.

The film, which premiered in the midnight section of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, stems from a botched assignment to direct a 15-minute commercial for Yves Saint Laurent. When Noé couldn’t limit his creativity to meet the needs of the legendary fashion house, he turned the project into a 50-minute mockumentary about a film shoot gone wrong. Saint Laurent is still listed as the film’s producer, but the project is now a true original work by Noé.

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The resulting film, “Lux Æterna,” is…very flashy, to say the least. The new trailer is a barrage of neon strobe lights that begins with a warning for seizure-prone viewers to look away. Those who keep watching are treated to a highly stylized montage of filmmaking difficulties, illuminated by a cornucopia of colored lights. Béatrice Dalle sums up the philosophy of the film in the trailer when her character says: “The film is beautiful, so it’s fine. But when you do, the end justifies the means.

Noah’s flashy technical magic is the real star of “Lux Æterna,” so the official synopsis keeps plot details brief. It reads: “Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg are on a film set telling stories of witches. Technical problems and psychotic flare-ups gradually plunge the shoot into chaos.

In his Cannes review, Eric Kohn, of IndieWire, described the film as “a trippy sketch of a project overloaded with strobe effects that could very well send some viewers into seizures.” Yet, as a minor work, it provides a pleasing snippet of exuberant formalism that puts Noah in a class of its own.

Yellow Veil Pictures will release “Lux Æterna” at the Metrograph in New York on May 6, followed by a Los Angeles release on May 13 and a possible national rollout soon after.

Noah’s most recent film was “Vortex”, released later that year from Utopia.

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