We each have that film that has a special place in our hearts. For some people it’s a film they grew up with, for others it was the film that transcends every cinematic convention they were aware of and opened their eyes to so much more. As with many of you, I have a small shortlist of films that do that to me and this is the latest reveal of that list with Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void. 1. Raising the middle finger to cinematic suitability
The first thing you’ll notice about this film is the strange, hypnotic sense the camera adopts from the first frame. It’s a simple POV shot over a high-rise balcony watching a plane fly by. What becomes noticeable is the extreme authenticity this viewpoint is given – we witness each blink that is made. We watch his sister come out and talk to him as if she were talking to us. Two hands appear and light up a bong as if we were in a drug spinoff of the game Doom. There are psychedelic trips that rival the black hole scene in 2001. During the flashback scenes it’s shot over-the-shoulder style as if it were a videogame. Noe moves the camera around as if it were a cloud and won’t hesitate to drag it around a light display at the speed of a sloth then snap your neck with breakneck speed. It’s everything you’re not supposed to do and it fucking redefines everything you’ve ever known.
Drugs are such a common factor in cinema that films really need to find something else to become unique in order to avoid being a carbon copy of everything else. Enter The Void is almost a tribute to hallucinogens once you take into account the complete spaced-out aura the film takes on from the very start. Listen closely to the scene where Alex escorts Oscar down the stairs of his building – Alex explains the entirety of the film that has confused a sheer ton of people and it’s all to do with D.M.T and ...
3. The Tibetan Book of the Dead
“It’s hard to explain but when you die, your spirit leaves your body – at first you can see all your life reflected in the Magic Mirror and then you start floating like a ghost and you can see everything that’s happening around you and you can hear everything but you can’t communicate with the world around you. And there’s these lights, all these different colours. These lights are like doors that pull you into higher plains of existence. But most people like this world so much that they don’t want to be taken away so that’s when it turns into a bad trip and the only way out is to be reincarnated.”
4. Beauty in the dark
The sun doesn’t exist and any light glows with a neon sleaze. The entire film is seen through the eyes of a dark seedy alleyway and there’s a persistent glow of the kind you only see in 3AM nightclubs and porn stores located underground where the manager is brandishing a knife for safety reasons. It’s impossible to watch this film during the day – to do so is to miss the sheer depth of brilliance the flashing neon has to offer. The atmosphere is in the sleaze, their most recent attempt to emerge from the shit hole their lives turned into from a very early age. This is a film without hope and to even think about introducing such a thing means you’re missing the point.
5. Opening title sequence
Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is the go-to film when discussing benchmarks in opening credits. Since then we’ve been privy to Se7en, Fight Club and Alien and this is another entry to the canon of Unbelievable Opening Titles. Occasionally a forgotten art form, here it perfectly shocks you into what to expect for the remainder of the film. Plus anything that’s possibly dangerous deserves our attention (don’t watch it if you suffer from epilepsy).