WHY THIS FILM ?
WHY DO PEOPLE ONLY REMEMBER THEIR PAST?
WHY DOES NO ONE LISTEN TO PREMONITORY DREAMS?
WHY DOES THE PERCEPTION OF TIME ONLY TRAVEL IN ONE DIRECTION?
WHY IS FREE WILL AN ILLUSION?
WHY IS MAN ONLY AN ANIMAL?
BECAUSE TIME DESTROYS EVERYTHING
BECAUSE SOME ACTS ARE IRREPARABLE
BECAUSE MAN IS AN ANIMAL
BECAUSE THE DESIRE FOR VENGEANCE IS A NATURAL IMPULSE
BECAUSE MOST CRIMES REMAIN UNPUNISHED
BECAUSE THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE DESTROYS LIKE LIGHTNING
BECAUSE LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF LIFE
BECAUSE ALL HISTORY IS WRITTEN IN SPERM AND BLOOD
BECAUSE IN A GOOD WORLD
BECAUSE PREMONITIONS DO NOT ALTER THE COURSE OF EVENTS
BECAUSE TIME REVEALS EVERYTHING
THE BEST AND THE WORST
Why this film? Because the original was told backwards and many viewers, swamped by the anticlockwise structure of the editing, didn’t understand certain aspects of the story. Presented clockwise, everything is clear and also darker. No dialogues have been cut, nor have any events in the story. Which is why this version is called Straight Cut. Until now, Irréversible was a deliberate puzzle. Now it’s a diptych, like an old record whose B side is the less conceptual mix of the track on side A, but this time with voices that are more audible, rendering the meanings of the words more fatalistic. You will see. Time reveals all things.
The dress was designed by YSL's designer, Jurgen Doering, inspired by a green dress belonging to Monica Bellucci. Ten copies were made, each take destroying inevitably the dress.
Here it is. After more than forty interviews, the coverage of each movies since 2003, important updates on the website, we had to go back to our roots — as Irreversible gave birth to us — to finally offer you an interview with Gaspar Noé. We deeply thank Gaspar Noé for his availability and Isabelle Sauvanon, without whom we couldn't have made this. Happy reading!
If you could reshoot one sequenc from one of your movie, which one would it be?
I don't really have any regrets on a specific sequence. Maybe because I never watch my old movies because I always want to re-edit, re-grade, remix it...
After Philippe Nahon's loss, which deeply moved us, do you consider to make him a tribute cinematically?
I've written a tribute letter [FR] to my friend when he died, which was published in Libération... Since then, his ashes were thrown in sea and it makes me want to swim there. The next tribute will be when the 2K/4K digital master of the two movies we made together will be done and that the movie could finally be re-released in theaters and on Blu-Ray.
You shoot more regularly. Is it because you have more opportunities or simply beacause you are more conscious of passage of time?
I shoot when I'm given the money to shoot. Enter the Void and Love were very difficult to finance, especially the first one which was really expensive (€12M) and with a very atypical style. But I didn't want to scatter by directing projects that mattered less to me. Today, now these teenagers dreams are accomplished, I'm more willling to seek where the money is to do a movie I can enjoy myself directing and on which I won't bother too much about. If it has to be shot within 15 days, I'm sold! Give the money. And if it has to be done within 5 days, it's all the same... And if I'm given money for shooting a movie during 4 months or more, like Enter the Void, of course I'm in. But the freedom given is always more precious than the budget.
Which recent work - film, book, music... - affected and inspired you, and even opened up new horizons?
Technically speaking, the thirty first minutes from Gravity astonished me. 6 months ago, I was in hospital stuffed with morphine, and the movie was broadcasted dubbed in French on the little TV at the other end of my room. And I loved it as much as when I watched it the first time in the best 3D theaters in Paris... Except that, I took advantage of my recovery and particularly quarantine to watch many great movies I had never seen before : Andrei Rublev, The Rules of the Game, The Ballad of Narayama (the one from 1958 directed by Kinoshita), Sansho the Bailiff and The Life of Oharu. Discovering such masterpieces makes you want to direct new movies...
Do you consider, some day, to adapt a book or work with a scriptwriter?
Yes, for sure. But I don't have any precise novel to adapt or co-scriptwriter at the moment.
How do you calm down your anxiety?
Watching classics movies and falling asleep.
In your career, most of your projects came from past ideas: Pulpe Amère presaged Carne with its ever-present voice over, and at the time of Carne, you already had Enter the Void in mind as much as Love, which was nearly produced by Dario Argento. Love project in 1992 was known as Danger and it's the plot you offered to Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci before you choosed to make a rape-and-revenge movie with long shots... If you recognized being inspired by Memento, when did you consider to make the movie in a non-chronological order?
Dario Argento never nearly produced Irreversible! I don't know where this fake news comes from.
[Ed.: The information according to which Dario Argento should have produced Love - not Irreversible comes from an interview Gaspar Noé gave to Christophe Lemaire who asked him, just after Carne what were his projects : "Otherwise, I also have a project with Dario Argento. Having watched Carne in Toronto, he offered me to produce my next movie. A psycho-social sexual drama! The story of a love relationship between two lost souls that ends badly."]
However, he did came in my editing room when I was editing the movie, I showed him the very first part and I stopped when Monica's character enters the tunnel. I wanted him to watch the whole movie on the big sceen... Except that, when I saw Memento, I felt lost in its maze-like temporal structure, made of sequences going backwards and others in the other way around. But watching this film reminded me another film I had missed in theaters and on TV, but which was told backwards. It was Betrayal, based upon a play by Harold Pinter. So, I wrote a "rape-and-revenge" (missed revenge in this case) story, happening in one night with 12 sequences we could edit backwards. I wrote each sequence on a separate page, and reversing the order once then twice, I could see if the movie would be clearly understandable - and if it was logical - in both orders. We shot chronologically in a bit less than 6 weeks, but I knew at the very beginning that the movie would be edited backwards. It was my wish. 17 years later, when we remastered it in 2K/4K, when I had the movie back in my editing room, I thought I should try an alternative cut for the Blu-Ray extra features. This new chronological cut, quite quickly made, was actually way more interesting than I had ever imagined. It was screened in Venice and it is finally releasing in theaters too. But I deeply advise everyone to watch the 2002 cut first, then watch the "straight cut" from 2020. The first one asks a lot of questions, the second brings some not so gleaming answers.
During your masterclass in Lyon, Cyril Roy [actor in Enter the Void] told me that in Asia, Irreversible was recut in its chronological order for DVDs extra features. You then explained me that it was made without your agreement and instead, you probably would have added black title cards between each scenes, a bit like Love. It's not what we see in the straight cut, for which you and your crew remade each transitions in order to keep invisible cuts. Why?
Indeed, in Korea they tried a recut for their bonus features, but when I started to watch it, the cuts were so poorly done that I stopped after 20 minutes and I never watched it again. In the straight cut that I edited, we made sure that every spliced between sequences remained as much enjoyable as in the original version.
Back in 2016, StudioCanal was supposed to re-release the movie in Germany with a new master. In the end, it was on an Italian Blu-Ray that we discovered this master in 2017. is there any difference between the 2017 and the 2020 masters?
I think that Irreversible Blu-Rays already available (italian, japanese etc.) are all frauds in fake high definition, made from poor masters used for TV and DVDs in 2002... No, I absolutely changed nothing to the original cut by doing, in 2019, the new master of the movie.
[Ed. : if there are some well and truly fake Blu-Rays made from the DVD master, the italian edition is well a "new master", watchable in France through Prime Video. The film grain being more detailed as much as the overall images, than the DVD or the fake Australian Blu-ray. We've been confirmed by StudioCanal that the version available on Prime Video is legit. There is a mystery on this master that Gaspar Noé seems to never approved of. We'll make sure to have more informations from different distributors and editors to know more about this]
Is the period between this 2017 master and the re-release due to the fact that you wanted to do the Straight Cut for the Blu-Ray extra features? Otherwise, why has there been such amount of time while the master seemed ready and most likely approved?
The only master we approved was the one we started in 2019 which is finally ready to be commercialised in 2020. No other were ever approved. And it's nice to go from "2002" to "2020", it's like a partial reversal of reading direction, just as in the new cut.
Irréversible was remastered in 4K, but StudioCanal will edit both versions in one double discs "standard" blu-ray combo pack. Is it only because of the lack of popularity from the UHD format?
The truth is that the film was originally shot in Super 16mm, post-produced in HD video but not at all 4K, and after the grading reshot on 35mm film. We saw the 16mm grain and it was part of the charm of the picture. If the film is upscaled in 4K, the original image is in a lower definition than 2K anyway. To release 4K Blu-rays, they have to be made from 4K masters or 35mm or 70mm films. Otherwise, it's pointless. But if theaters projectors are 4K, it's normal to deliver a 4K DCP, even if the original film hasn't the right definition.
It's not a coincidence if I talked about Pulpe Amère earlier: the first DVD of Irreversible should have included it in its extra features. Yet, if it's mentioned on the DVD cover, your shortfilm is completely absent. Can we expect to see it in its entirety, maybe in the blu-ray features? For our readers, let's remind that this shortfilm's cinematography was made by Maxime Ruiz, still photographer on Irreversible we can discover on screen in Lux Æterna (as the cinematographer).
Pulpe Amère won't be part of the Blu-Ray becase, rewatching this very short film, we all thought it didn't belong in the video edition. And yes, I had shot this short with my friend Maxime Ruiz, in his photo studio at the time. Since then, he has been a still photographer on Irréversible and he is fabulous in my last middle-length film Lux Æterna.
[Ed. in France, a movie is considered "short" below 59 minutes and above is considered a feature film. Sometimes, depending on people, films between 30-59 minutes are called "moyen-métrage", or "middle-lenght film"]
A few months ago, Albert Dupontel told us a story about Irreversible success : in the US, he didn't have an ID and in order to buy something with his credit card, he had to show a DVD from the movie... Which impact the movie had on your career?
Me too, when I'm arrested by cops and I have to tell them my name and job, when I have to tell I made Irréversible, all of them saw it. Same for the taxi drivers and bouncers. It helps a lot.
You shot unused footages of Monica Bellucci on her hospital bed. We could have expected that the Straight Cut, more focused on Alex who opens the movie, ends up with these footages, or at least shows some never-before-seen footages. It's not the case. Did you consider using unused footages?
I indeed considered using this cut scene but it would have been used at the very end as an happy end, revealing that she was still alive. I thought it was stronger and more anxious not telling what happened and I gave up the idea.
Cut scene from Irréversible © StudioCanal 2002
Climax and Lux Æterna didn't provoke any outrage (well, we remember the emergencies coming at the end of Lux Æterna's Cannes screening), some film critics even think you're wiser. Is this re-release a way to remind you haven't lost anything, before your project supposed to be darker and more vicious?
Wiser or not isn't the subject. We shoot films about more or less problematic themes. We should never force ourselves to shock people just as we should not be afraid of doing so. Personnally, only the news are still able to shock me. Not fiction movies with actors.
Irréversible is a turning point in your career : your first feature with complex camera movements and invisible cuts, your first collaboration with poster designer Laurent Lufroy and cinematographer Benoit Debie. How do you expect your career and style evolve in the upcoming 10 years?
I hope I'll continue shooting films with my gifted friends. It's the collective competition which makes us want to shoot these movies and to show them.
A huge thanks to Gaspar Noé for his availability.
Interview made by mail by Frédéric Polizine and Alexis Veille, august 2020.
ACTOR — FISTMAN
ACTOR — MICK
ACTOR — LE TÉNIA
Irréversible was the first time Gasar Noé and his poster designer Laurent Lufroy worked together. Since then, he designed all of his feature films posters and even made a few cameos (Love, Climax ou Lux Æterna). With Gaspar Noé's agreement, Laurent Lufroy unveils us his poster concepts rejected in 2002.
CAST & CREW
PAGE MADE WITH THE HELP OF