He entered Louis-Lumière at the age of 17, finished his studies after two years but remained in a third year to make his graduation film, Tintarella di Luna (1984).
“This film went from festival to festival and it was on television. I think it was one of the first shorts purchased by CANAL +. It was aired just before Eraserhead , which was for me a success of esteem which made me want to pursue.
He and his father, Luis Felipe, act in the short. He dedicates the film to his mother. Lucile Hadzihalilovic, whom he had just met and who will become his editor, visits Gaspar Noé on the set of Tintarella di Luna .
During 1985, he assisted Fernando Solanas in the shooting of Tangos, El Exilio de Gardel, in which he got a small part. In Tolbiac, his interest in the courses concerning Plato will make him think of making The Cave which will never be made. In 1986, he was the cinematographer for La Première Mort de Nono by Lucile Hadzihalilovic with whom he founded Les Cinémas de la Zone the same year, under the advices from Luc Moullet.
"We discovered that we shared a desire to make atypical films and we decided to create together our own company, Les Cinémas de la Zone, to finance our projects. Beyond all the major drawbacks of self-production , we thus enjoyed greater creative freedom. We make our films as we wish without worrying whether they will sell or not. Even if it means paying the consequences in our daily life. "
At the end of the 1980s and during the 1990s, he worked several times on commercials and music videos, some of which were directed by Bruno Podalydès, for whom he was the first assistant. These films are produced by Flagrants Délits. The producer, Eric Mistler, had been introduced to Gaspar by a friend from Argentina close to his father, Maxime Ruiz.
The premises of Flagrants Délits are open to new filmmakers and it is there that Gaspar collected scraps of film, generally reserved for technical tests. These film rolls will then be used to shoot Pulpe Amère , a financial disaster* which will put its director in debt. Shot in a single day in the photo studio of Maxime Ruiz - also director of photography - the voiceover writing and editing will take many months. The film, although bought by Canal +, will be shunned from festivals and has known only very rare broadcasts.
* A provisional budget of 5000 Francs for a film which would have ultimately cost 30,000!
"I was born in Argentina, my parents came to France when I was twelve. I entered the Louis Lumière Film School at 17. At the end of my studies, I made a short film, I 've worked as an assistant, I made an erotic short film that has gone nowhere because the short film festivals are very prudish. [...] When I was a kid, my mother sent me to a psychoanalyst for a psychic checkup. He asked me if I liked horror films, I said yes. I was told that I had answered correctly, that it was a sign of psychological balance. So I haven't stopped seeing them! "
(La Revue du Cinéma # 484)
Gaspar Noé was born on December 27, 1963 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He spent his childhood between his hometown and New York. His father, Luis Felipe Noé, is a "very playful" painter and his mother, an "activist social worker".
If his first memory of cinema is Jason and the Argonauts , it is at Cosmos 70 in Buenos Aires that his life changed. In this theater, which usually shows Soviet films, he discovered what will be his first trip, 2001: A Space Odyssey .
“When I discovered this film, at the age of 6 [...], I experienced an ecstasy. An actual one. I thought I saw the past. I thought I saw the future. I thought I was flying in space. I thought I saw death and reborned. Then I was told it was all fake. That the director had made everything himself, the story, the apes, the planets and the ships. Everything. I said to myself: the guy who made this film, he wanted it, and he could. I want to be like him. I want to understand this movie. I want to be God. "When we want we can", used to say my father. Kubrick proved it to me. And I was marked for life. " [Positif n° 464, October 1999]
He arrived in Paris at the age of 13. When he was 16, his father brought him a Super 8 camera from Brazil bought at the airport. He then filmed his friend Juan Solanas throwing himself from the Pont Neuf while mimicking a suicide: he ironically said it was his first “psychological drama” .
In 1988, he was again assistant director to Fernando Solanas on The South . Later, he starts filming Carne produced by Flagrants Délits, with Philippe Nahon, (Colors, 40 min - 16mm blown-up to 35mm) which lasted two years. Carne is awarded the Grand Prize of the Critics' Week and the Mention of the Youth Prize at Cannes.
“Many have suggested that I adapt it as a feature film. I wrote it but it was of course refused by the decision-making media ”.
Gaspar Noé then decided to produce a long version of his film but did not manage to raise enough money. In 1995, he filmed a fake TV show titled Une experience d'Hypnose Télévisuelle. broadcasted during the show L'Œil du Cyclone on Canal +. Thus, during the same year, he made a spot against hunting: Le lâcher d'animaux d'élevage (Editor's note: or Le lâcher d'animaux domestiques according to the sources).
"It’s against hunting. I didn’t like it. They proposed to me to direct it. I did it in one day. [...] There was not much money. I got paid to do it against hunters. I’m not for hunting. " p.399 - Headpress)
At the same time, he already had ideas for films: Soudain le vide (translator's note : the film got released as Enter the Void in France but was known as "Soudain le vide" before its release) for which he submitted a first draft to the CNC in 1993, as well as the adaptation of Georges Bataille's History of the Eye. The adaptation project was likely to be complicated to finance because of its content, he then envisaged a softer sexual melodrama, entitled Danger (which will become Love )
Gérard Courant films him for his Cinématon. In 1996, he shoots his first music video Je n'ai pas for Les Frères Misère (Mano Solo's band) of which there are two official versions. He also produced an advertisement for the eponymous album. He also appears in the credits of the film Assassin(s) by Matthieu Kassovitz.
The same year, his voice appears in Le Rocher d'Acapulco by Laurent Tuel and appears in the short film Je suis ton châtiment before acting the following year as a kebab seller in his friend Jan Kounen's film, Dobermann .
In 1998, he returned with a pornographic short film commissioned by the French Ministry of Health and produced by Ce Qui Me Meut (Cédric Klapisch): Sodomites in which appear Philippe Nahon and Mano Solo, broadcasted on Canal + in October. Lucile's shortfilm, Good Boys Use Condoms is also part of this campaign. Gaspar Noé is the cameraman.
"I took the anal subject, because I thought that I needed the hardest one. [...] We were shooting on 35mm. I was surprised, because we got film stock for free, because they said: We want to help you to fight against AIDS. And we got also the camera for free. But otherwise, the cost of the short was $40,000." (Dark Star Rising by Shade Rupe, p.398 - Headpress)
The same year, he began filming I Stand Alone (Colors - 93 minutes - 16mm blown-up to 35mm), with Philippe Nahon who was already in Carne. Five years are needed to complete this project which was self-financed due to the refusal of several television channels.
“I had to stop shooting in order to find some film before I could shoot again. Philippe was forced to wear the same clothes stiff with sweat in order to continue the film ”.
An unused footage showing Stéphane Drouot, the brilliant director of Star Suburb , will become a short film Intoxication. At the same time, he is the cinematographer of Lucile for his medium-length film La bouche de Jean-Pierre .
“The thirty days of filming will last two and a half years, in part because of Lucile's film La bouche de Jean-Pierre that we shot simultaneously. While we were finishing hers, I was doing mine ”.
Thanks to the financial support of stylist Agnès B. he manages to finish it. Presented at Cannes Film Festival in 1998, the film caused a scandal because of its ideological ambiguity… Agnès B. released a T-Shirt bearing the image of the film.
Also in 1998, he shoots the video Insanely Cheeful for the Bone Fiction group (Colors - 4:07 min, depending on the different versions) of which four versions with an alternative colour grading exist and allowed to perceive stroboscopic effects which will become its trademark.
In 1999, he directed a series of 12 short films for Agnès B. in order to present the summer collection. He also shoots another clip, Si mince (Colors - 16mm - 5:25 mn), for the French singer Arielle and for which he tries “impossible” camera movements and invisible connections, which will serve as training for Irréversible and Enter the Void .
In 2000, Gaspar Noé also appeared in the credits of the film by Virginie Despentes & Coralie Trinh Thi, Rape me and in 2001, in the thanks of the documentary Who Are You, Bernard Tapie? by Marina Zenovich.
Although the pre-production of Enter the Void was ready to start, Gaspar Noé was told in 2001 that filming could not start until the end of the year. In order to remain free and independent and thus be able to apply his own ideas, he decided to shoot a less ambitious film during the summer rather than commercials. This film will become Irreversible (Colors - 16mm blown up to 35mm - 96mn) with Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci and Albert Dupontel which will be released in 2002, with such unexpected success that it will make him forget the Enter the Void project. Gaspar makes an appearance as a client of the gay BDSM club the Rectum.
“We shot the film using a 3 page script. The financing was quickly completed thanks to the notoriety of Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel. Although nothing was written, not even the title, we got 27 million cash and freedom of production. People still don't understand how such a movie could have been made. I believe that it was the absence of a reprehensible reference mark in my three pages of script that hid the violence of a film that should have been rejected ”.
Because of two extremely violent scenes (a murder with a head smashed with a fire extinguisher and a rape), Irréversible, presented in Cannes, created a scandal.
“People are so afraid of the destruction of others that when they see acts of violence there are two types of reaction. On the one hand we want to intervene, and on the other, we step back. Women are more shocked by the violence of the scene with the fire extinguisher while men leave the room during the rape scene. It's a dominant male reflex: they refuse to be identified with a woman being raped. ”
In 2004, Lucile directed her first feature film, Innocence which she dedicates to Gaspar. The same year, he shot two spots against AIDS for an INPES (french national institute for health) campaign. But, refusing to give in to the diktat of his partners (they wanted to make a third short film presenting the African population in a caricatural way that he considered racist), he broke the contract and signed his work under the nickname “Roberto Keller” .
In 2005, Enter the Void is announced by Pathé Renn Productions. The shooting might finally start. However, nothing happens. That year, Gaspar was in Cannes and Canal + gave him carte blanche: he shot three experimental shorts, Eva whose context is the Festival and in which the model Eva Herzigova appears.
In 2006, Gaspar Noé left for Burkina Faso for 10 days to shoot a short documentary film resulting from project 8, at the initiative of LDM Production and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP; later, the UN will leave the project because of an artistic conflict with LDM). This short film titled SIDA (AIDS) shows the daily life of a Burkinabé infected with HIV. At the same time, it is rumored that Gaspar is preparing a long version called “HIV”.
The same year, he shoots the porn short We Fuck Alone (Colors / B & W - DV - 23 mn) for Destricted which is a project of short films that explore the line where art and pornography intersect. Also, We Fuck Alone refers to the international title of I Stand Alone (french title meaning "All Against All").
For nearly ten years, Gaspar's third film, Enter the Void, was announced. During the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, Wild Bunch, Gaspar's new producer, took the opportunity to relaunch production of the film. (Gaspar is present at the Festival for SIDA and Destricted). Unfortunately, the filming of Enter the Void is announced and then delayed several times.
In March 2007, Gaspar Noé expressed - for the first time - his feelings to the press (Dedicate # 11) and mentioned financial problems which complicate the feasibility of his third film, presented as very ambitious.
However, in August 2007, Première magazine announced the imminent shooting (for September 2007) of Enter the Void. But the cast still does not seem defined… Finally, the shooting begins on October 19, 2007 in Tokyo, Japan. The main cast consists only of English-speaking actors and actresses: Nathaniel Brown and Paz de la Huerta, in the roles of Oscar and Linda, brother and sister. End of the first part of the Japanese shoot: December 15, 2007. Return in January 2008 and later the same year. The shooting is secret but once again, the French press ignores Gaspar Noé...
End of April 2008: Filming continues in Canada and ends in May. In November, Gaspar once again directs Vincent Cassel in a spot for Yves Saint Laurent's new fragrance, La Nuit de l'Homme. According to several sources, the shooting is "darker" than the final result ...
April 2009: Enter the Void is finally selected in Cannes but the copy is incomplete (no credits and the SFX are unfinished). This selection is followed by several others in international festivals.
May 5, 2010, Enter the Void released in France. It will be screened for two months in only 30 theaters for only 50,000 spectators, a little better than Seul contre tous (1999) but much less than Irreversible (2002) which gathered 600,000 spectators. Enter the Void DVD & Blu-ray are released in December 2010, edited by Wild Side. The extra features are limited because Gaspar Noé refuses to comment on his work.
In the wake of the international promotion of Enter the Void (the US release is scheduled for September 2009), Gaspar could prepare his fourth film, "an arousing erotic film. Not an art film with erotic sequences, but erotic film with substance, where sex is not simulated. And in 3D, if the technical tests I am going to carry out are positive ”
In 2011, he shot Ritual, an exorcism in Cuba (March) for the omnibus film 7 Days in Havana (Siete días in La Habana). Used to camcorders, he shoots it with a Canon 5D DSLR. In May, he is in Cannes and while Nicolas Winding-Refn obtains the Prize of the Best Director for Drive, the Danish director thanks Gaspar for his help concerning a "smashed head". That same month, Gaspar is interviewed by a Hungarian site (origo.hu) in which he talks about his Cuban short film, his projects ( an erotic film ), and reveals that his mother suffers from Alzheimer's disease.
From 2012 to 2013, he shot 3 music videos (for SebastiAN, Nick Cave and Animal Collective). This will be his last work before the shooting of his next film. At the end of 2013, he shot the cover of Sky Ferreira's album and participated in an exhibition in Argentina with his sister and his father: NOE 3D .
In 2014, Gaspar is announced as a director in a football-themed omnibus film: Short Plays . The short film, titled Shoot, is shot with six GoPro attached to a ball. A few weeks later, Wild Bunch announced that Gaspar's next film would be shot in Paris in June 2014. It would be a "sexual melodrama about a boy, a girl, and another girl" titled LOVE , his first feature film shot in digital and 3D.
In May 2015, LOVE 3D was officially selected in Cannes. The public screening takes place in July of the same year. Despite a controversy over the age of the ban (first restricted for audiences under 16, an extreme right-wing association manages to obtain a ban for under 18), LOVE 3D sells more tickets (around 60,000 in France) than Enter the Void.
In several interviews, Gaspar says he would be interested in making a documentary (perhaps in Africa, like for AIDS) or a movie using the Oculus Rift ("a virtual reality headset").
At the start of 2018, Gaspar Noé shoot in just 15 days and in the greatest secret CLIMAX (working title: PSYCHÉ), the most popular work of his career.
In 2019, a year later and during a week, Gaspar Noé is shooting a medium-length film called LUX ÆTERNA with Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg. In parallel, he shoots with the same technical team a new clip for SebastiAN, THIRST.
In 2020, for the first time since 1968, the Cannes Film Festival is canceled due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19. In April, Philippe Nahon, the iconic actor of Gaspar Noé, dies...
Irreversible: Straight Cut hits french theaters on August 26, while some theaters offer the restored version of the original cut.
Lux Æterna premieres at the Étrange Festival in September, with a previously unseen screening of The Art of Filmmaking , a 10-minute experimental short featuring images of Cecil B. DeMille's King of Kings with strobe effects.
At the end of December, a commercial short film shot in the most complete secrecy is announced by Saint Laurent. Starring Charlotte Rampling and several muses of the fashion house, Summer of '21 uses some gimmicks from Lux Æterna .
In March 2021, Gaspar Noé starts shooting his next film, described as a mix of melodrama, thriller and documentary, in Paris. Entitled Vortex (working title: Au Bord du Monde) it benefits from the advance on receipts from the CNC and a budget of € 3.3 million, more than Climax or Love. Vortex is selected at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival in the brand new selection, "Cannes Premieres". The film thus marks a turning point in his filmography and underlines his desire to move away from a narrative cinema to approach the documentary.
Biography written by Frédéric Polizine and completed by Alexis Veille. June 2021
POLIZINE, Frédéric, WATCH Alexis. Biography of Gaspar Noé. Le Temps Destruit Tout [online]. June 2021. [Accessed date]. Available at: www.letempsdetruittout.net/biographie