is a 2002 film directed by Gaspar Noé
, with Monica Bellucci
and Le Pacte des Loups
), Vincent Cassel
(of La Haine
and Le Pacte des Loups
, and Bellucci's husband which is apparent from their on screen chemistry), and Albert Dupontel
. It was nominated for a Palme d'Or
at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, while attracting quite a bit of controversy.
This controversy concerns the quite explicit scenes of sex, violence, and rape, in particular a 9-minute scene in which Bellucci's character, Alex, is raped by a stranger in an underground passage.
The movie opens with a very odd générique; the end credits are played backwards, eventually leaning over to the side before the title appears. This serves as foreshadowing in a way. The entire film is shot in a very disorienting style. Cameras seem to be suspended from the ceiling by strings, and sent spinning willy-nilly.
The first characters to appear are two old men, sitting on a bed and smoking cigarettes. One is in his underwear and the other is fully clothed. They talk for a little while, then we go towards a nightclub called the Rectum. Inside are quite a number of men taking drugs, having sex, watching porn, or tending bar. We first see Cassel's character, Marcus, and Dupontel's character, Pierre, being escorted by police out of the club. Marcus is unconscious, and his arm is in a cast, while Pierre is simply cuffed and led into a police car.
From there, we go inside the club, to a few moments before the previous scene. This the worst of the camera-induced vertigo, augmented by blurry vision and very poor red lighting. We see Marcus and Pierre making their way through the club, asking for a man (le Tenia or the Tapeworm). Eventually, they find him and start a fight. Marcus's arm is broken, and while he is down, two club patrons pull down his pants and prepare to rape him. They are interrupted, however, by Pierre slamming a fire extinguisher onto someone's head repeatedly, until the head resembles something you'd find on rotten.com.
So if you haven't guessed by now, this story is told completely in reverse. At the beginning, we are introduced to Marcus and Pierre as bloodthirsty psychos, and only later do we eventually discover the roots of their rage.
Perhaps this has something to do with context? I don't know. I'm not a very good explainer of films.
If you're at all squeamish, close your eyes until you hear lots of house music. That's the end of the violence. Anything more will be a spoiler.
Worthy of note is that the music for this film was composed by Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk. He may have made a sans-robot-mask cameo as a DJ, but I don't know what he looks like!
Oh yes, there are NO end credits. At all.