Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Enter The Void (2009)

WHO: Gaspar Noé wrote, directed, and co-edited this.

WHAT: Though rumor has it Noé was inspired to make this film after an experience watching Robert Montgomery's 1947 Lady In The Lake while under the influence of psychotropic substances (which sounds like an effective "elevator pitch" for this film to me), in fact Enter the Void follows in the traces of a long history of point-of-view in motion pictures, from parts of Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera and the opening sequence of Rouben Mamoulian's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, to, more recently, everything from Sokurov's Russian Ark to certain pornography.

It;s hard to deny the visual achievement of Enter the Void, but I have to admit that I'm one of those who felt that Noé's level of intellectual engagement with his characters and his themes was closer to that of the latter of the above paragraph's reference points, than to any of the others mentioned. Still, I wouldn't trade anything for the experience of having seen it once just to turn off my brain and soak in the eye-popping visuals. And any time it plays on a big screen I'm tempted to go just to see the amazing opening credits sequence, which is one of the most creative and memorable of its kind.

WHERE/WHEN: Tonight only at the Castro Theatre at 8:45 PM.

WHY: The Castro Theatre is a perfect place to see visually-striking films, simply because its screen is so large. Put yourself in one of the first few rows to let the images immerse you totally, and you can have a pure sensory experience detached from rational thinking. The theatre's June calendar is now up on its website, and it's packed with lots of screenings that might be appreciated that way. It's Burt Lancaster's centennial year, and his 35mm double-feature next Wednesday includes the very visual Atlantic City. The day after is a Warren Oates pairing of Two-Lane Blacktop and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. A Johnny Depp 50th birthday weekend triple-bill is echoed by a showing of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas paired, for some reason, with The Doors, featuring Kyle MacLachlan as the late Ray Manzarek. A 1960s arthouse masterpiece knockout bill comes June 13th when Roman Polanski's first feature Knife in the Water plays with Luis Buñuel's Belle Du Jour. A radioactive double-bill of Repo Man and Kiss Me Deadly rounds out the repertory programming in a month otherwise dominated by the SF Silent Film Festival's Alfred Hitchcock series, and by the Frameline festival. And a few hints for July have also appeared, including a 35mm print of Suspiria and a Ray Harryhausen memorial screening of two of his most famous films.

HOW: Enter The Void screens in a 35mm print, including the "cut" reel which has only screened a few times in Frisco Bay theatres. It's on a double-bill with a DCP of Spring Breakers.

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