Reviews Joyce Glasser Whirlwind (May 13, 2022) Certificate 15, 142 min.

Gaspar Noah’s new film, Whirlwind, “Dedicated to all those whose brains decompose before the heart.” The metaphorical meaning is strong, but literally taken, it is a devastating, convincing picture of old age: the mother (as she is called in the subtitles) in the center of the film has dementia, and her husband, father – heart disease. A well-chosen name invites us to think about the pressure of this all-consuming combination of failed mind and heart like a whirlwind that sucks everything into its black hole.

Whirlwind may remind you of a masterpiece by Michael Haneke, who won an Oscar, Lovein which a devoted, mature, professional couple puts up with a wife’s stroke. It won’t remind you of Noah’s own movie called Love, which allegedly tells the story of a young couple’s novel through unimposed sex – in 3D. Enfant terrible of 21st century French cinema, Noah’s films have 18 points for sex and violence.

У Whirlwind the only sex is commitment, and the only violence is the destruction of time that brought him a 15th rating. Now Noah is 58, an age at which middle-aged children are losing their sense of security and realizing that the role of parents and children has changed. The theme, however, did not affect Noah’s uncompromising style. Whirlwind in its own way, as difficult and difficult to view as its irreversible with an 18 rating, but for some viewers it will be more useful.

The film seems very personal and not just because the four-man cast has a middle-aged son. Stefan (Alex Lutz), a filmmaker who is addicted to drugs, and a young hyperactive son named Kiki (Killian Deret). His parents remain as undemanding and non-judgmental. Stefan tries to be a good son, but he is overwhelmed by the obligation to deal with his poor parents.

When the film opens, we see Mother and Father open the windows to show each other meeting over dinner, on opposite sides of the courtyard in a cute apartment building, as if they were neighbors, not roommates. They dine on a small balcony strewn with bright flowers, and a man fills a woman’s glass with wine. They toast for life.

The plot is small. A retired psychiatrist (screen legend Françoise Lebrun), “Mother” is ill with Alzheimer’s, and her bright days, represented by the aforementioned start scene, are over. On the rest of the film unwashed dishes adds clutter to the apartment and the flowers on the balcony begin to wither.

A single mother who runs out of an apartment, getting lost in a local store, distracting her father (screenwriter and director Dario Argento), a film critic and writer, from his work on a book about the symbolism of dreams and cinema. The mother has lost the ability to speak or it is so difficult for her that she can only mutter words from time to time. The father still likes to entertain friends (including a mistress who leaves) with wine and lively shopping conversations despite heart problems.

What seems to unite their separate lives is the complex medicine schedule of the couple. There’s a bit of black comedy when they confuse their pills and forget their doses. As ridiculous as it may be, we watch with genuine anxiety as Mother, a former doctor, mixes a potion to give to a Father who annoys her.

That this is a film about age is marked with birth dates under the names of the main characters in the first titles: Lebrun (Mother), 1944, and Argento (Father), 1940. That film about the loneliness of infirmity and death signals a split screen passing through most of the film.

This device is not a trick, but in the hands of cinematographer Benoit Debbie (who previously worked with both Noah and Argent) is clear, disturbing and functional. According to Peter Reed Literary Times app In a review of Alex Danchev’s new biography of Rene Magritte, the artist hid his face behind veils and masks, or, in Auditorium, fill the room with giant apples to offer no socializing and loneliness. The obsessive presence of familiar elements (room, people) creates a sense of the unusual. A similar reading can be given for the split screen Noé.

Noah also uses a split-screen technique to create tension, such as when a father takes a shower without paying attention to what’s going on in his office, where he’s just knocked on an old typewriter. Behind the steam bath door, on the other side of the screen, Mother tears up his manuscript. Whether she really believes she is bringing order, or subconsciously expresses her irritation with her husband, is ambiguous. The technique is used to express tenderness, as when a sparring couple suddenly grabs each other’s hands through a split screen.

LeBron is surprised to find her way into a dark place that is so compelling that we would be surprised to hear her speak consistently in a public interview. Argent, by the way, is an actor and critic, but above all a film director, best known for his horror films of the 1970s and 1980s, including Spira (1977), reworked in 2018 by Luca Guadanina. His performance breaks the heart; as if he was looking ahead to a possible version of his own life or the life of someone like him.

As in Haneke Cupid, a well-inhabited apartment, with some exceptions, is the only place. Jean Rabas’s production is exemplary, as the apartment, the refuge of this intellectual couple’s life, becomes the character of the film. Filled with photographs, books, albums, movies and files that the Father cannot leave in the cramped nursing home, Noah leaves us to reflect on the fate of our cherished things, silent companions and witnesses of our lives.


Gaspar Noé’s devastating and innovative film about old age

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