Thursday, October 7, 2010

Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void pays homage to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, both in the prominent portrayal of drugs and an iconic toilet scene. Enter the Void is shot in the psychedelic style of films like Terry Giliam’s Brazil, but it has the mythopoeic breadth of Joseph Campbell. Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), the central character, takes a drug called DMT that mimics the feeling created by an enzyme the body shoots into the brain at the time of death. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which describes the moment of death as a replay of life, is cited just as Oscar meets his drug-induced maker, and the book’s prophecy plays out in handheld camera shots jerkily hovering over scenes from Oscar’s past—the gruesome death of his parents in a head-on collision (searingly repeated throughout the film), his sister Linda’s (Paz de la Huerta) abortion (including a graphically depicted fetus), and his witnessing, as a child, the primal scene of his parents fucking in the doggy position. In an anomalous twist, he even observes his own cremation. Oscar’s subjective mind is the doppelganger hanging over the movie, and it presents a curious paradox, since utter subjectivity is invoked to depict the death of the self. Noe’s early Irreversible achieved notoriety due to a graphically violent eight-minute rape sequence. Noe’s camera is equally unflinching in Enter the Void. In what must be a cinematic first, the penis is shown entering the vagina from the point of view of the vulva. However, despite the violence, drug addiction and pornography that constitute the director’s palette, Enter the Void is ultimately a family drama, albeit of a gruesome sort. Their parents’ death is the driving force in both Oscar's and Linda’s lives, and it’s what cements their incestuous bond. Unlike more traditional cinematic excursions into the territory of trauma, Enter the Void suffers from a lack of plot—maybe because of the director’s globally ambitious approach to his subject, which is life itself.


  1. The overlay of DMT makes one wonder, what it does to the psyche in linguistic terms. " Endogenous Psychedelic Opiod" comes pretty close.

  2. I'm just a poor scholar like Abelard,so I don't understand all these fancy words. Endogenous Psychedelic Opiod" does have a nice ring. It wounds like a plant food. Should I apply it to my geraniums?

  3. I've been too long in neuropsychoanalysis, how bout just "psychedelic smack", maybe if you smoke some before watering your geraniums, it won't matter.


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