Have you ever heard of a film director named Gaspar Noé (57)? If I had to describe his style in one word, it would be “nightmare. He is known for his erotic and grotesque films that once you see them, you will never forget them.
The film “Alex,” which was released by such a genius in 2001 and was acclaimed as “a traumatic film that will remain in the history of the world” (?), is now in theaters. The film has been re-edited and will be released in Japan on October 29th as “Alex: STRAIGHT CUT”.
When Alex was released in 2002, it had many people on the edge of their seats at film festivals and theaters, mainly because of the violent and brutal 9-minute long rape scene. Monica Bellucci (57), who played the main character Alex, is a great actress who is called the greatest treasure of Italy. The fact that she was co-starring with Vincent Cassel (54), who at the time was a real partner of hers, and who is also known as the sexiest man in France, attracted a lot of attention, as did the bizarre editing method of starting the story from the end. It was an unmistakable problem child in the history of cinema.
After almost 20 years, “Alex” has been reborn as a new film, “Alex: STRAIGHT CUT,” which restores the timeline of the story. Why would a genius re-edit his own work?
We interviewed Gaspar Noé himself.
Why did you decide to make a straight cut version?
I thought it might be fun to make a reverse-playback just for fun. I thought it would be fun to make a reverse-play version just for fun. The original reverse-play version was more violent and cold, and had more of an experimental or art film feel to it. However, “Alex S. TRAIGHT CUT” is a film that the audience can relate to, and I was very surprised. In Alex, Vincent Cassel was the main character, but in Alex Straight Cut, the focus is on Monica. Everyone in the audience gets emotionally involved with her. At the same time, Vincent has gone from being the protagonist to being a “jerk. And Alex’s ex-boyfriend, Pierre (Albert Dupontel ) is He became more heroic. My understanding of character behavior has also changed.
Alex STRAIGHT CUT begins with a shot of Monica and the child, whereas Alex took a long time to introduce Monica. It was the complete opposite of the previous film, which started with the ugliness of masculinity – violence, rape, etc. That’s why when “Alex: Straight Cut” was screened at the Venice International Film Festival, Monica said, “This is a feminist film made by men. I don’t know if it’s a feminist film or not, but this film shows the fear of masculinity. I don’t know if it’s a feminist film or not, but it shows a fear of masculinity, and the men in this film are basically all beasts, and they’re all under the control of testosterone.
— “Alex: STRAIGHT CUT” has an affinity with the year 2021 now, doesn’t it?
At the same time, it feels very old-fashioned. For example, the way racists and sexists are portrayed in the film is impossible to make a new film today. Also, 20 years ago, no one had cell phones, so it’s not natural for a modern film. In today’s movies, if you have three minutes, someone will be using a cell phone, right? If they had cell phones, Monica wouldn’t have walked to the tunnel where the crime took place, she would have called a cab.
In the movie, the ex-boyfriend kills someone, but in “Alex” it was hard to tell who he was killing. That’s also a criticism of the cheap revenge movies like the ones in the American Charles Bronson movies. ……
–so it’s the antithesis of masculinity imposing justice. In the movie, the killer is happy to see Pierre kill someone.
But you can’t portray a human figure like that today. You can’t make a film because you can’t get funding or producers. So I think this is a story from a different era. What is the state of filmmaking in Japan?
–Even in Japan, it is difficult to depict expressions that are against moral principles or political matters. Of course, there are some directors who are resisting.
I guess the crazy days when you could create things with free ideas like director Koji Wakamatsu are completely over. Don’t you think the interesting thing about filmmaking is that you can go into a world that is completely different from your own life? Making a war movie doesn’t mean that you are going to war, does it? You can experience many things in film. It doesn’t matter if it’s a documentary or fiction. It’s the discovery of that world itself that makes me passionate about filmmaking.
When I made “Alex” 20 years ago, the filmmaking itself was a lot of fun and a really wonderful experience. I can’t say it was a happy film, but we all had a lot of fun on the set.
During the week-long re-editing process, I felt a mixture of joy and wonder. When I finished it, I suddenly felt like an 18-year-old kid in front of me. I realized that if “Alex” was a child, then one half of a twin existed.
I’m proud of “Alex: Stray Cuts” as a new film, not because it’s better than the last one or this one. That’s why I wanted to show it in theaters. When I saw the reaction of the audience, I was reminded that this is a new film. It’s impossible to make this film as a new film now, so I’m really glad I could make it as a new film in a simple way.
Not only in “Alex” but also in your films, pregnant women are always in painful and tragic situations. What does that mean to you?
I was very scared of becoming a father myself. I was very scared of becoming a father myself, but at the same time, I had a great desire to be a father. Maybe that’s why I expressed it that way. Fear and passion always coexist. It’s like a dream and a nightmare. My father and grandfather were artists who fled Argentina, and for a long time they always told me that if I wanted to be a father, I should be the best father in the world. I was really scared of that. It was a lot of pressure because I didn’t know if I could live up to it.
By the way, why do all the main male characters in your films have shaved heads?
This is a story from when I still had hair. …… I decided to shave my head and I liked it a lot. I liked it so much I thought I could live without worrying about going bald!
When I was a teenager, I was really afraid of going bald. Humans are really neurotic creatures, aren’t we? In “Love 3D” (2015), there’s me in a wig, and the character is a jerk, and I was trying to make him look like a jerk. I wanted to make him look like a jerk. Wearing a wig was a way for me to say, “Don’t do this.
-Alex, STRAIGHT CUT will be released in Japan.
Because of Corona, it took about two years from the Venice Film Festival to the Japanese release. I’m very happy to finally be able to release it. I’m very happy to finally be able to release it in theaters, and this time it will be played in more theaters. In the past 20 years, many movies have been released and forgotten, so I am very grateful to be able to release it as a new movie.
Now that we have blue-ray and streaming, we can watch movies in many different ways, so I hope people will compare it to “Alex”. It’s like a new remixed version of a music album. It’s the same story, but you’ll enjoy it as a new one.
Alex: STRAIGHT CUT
Official website: alex-straight.jp Official Twitter: @AlexStraightcut
Opening Friday, October 29th at Shinjuku Musashinoya and other theaters nationwide.
Director/Screenplay/Cinematography/Editor: Gaspar Noé
Cast: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Joe Brestier
Music: Thomas Bangertel
Source: King Records Distribution: Uzumasa Subtitle: Kazuko Yokoi
[2020 / France / Cinema Scope / 5.1ch / 90min / DCP
Interview and text by： Midori Shiratori
Actress and writer, born in Yokohama in 1987. After making her debut as a gravure idol while still a student at Waseda University, she became an actress mainly in films. "In addition to being in charge of the star-studded reviews of foreign films in the Kinema Junpo, she is also a regular contributor to the "Cinema no Hata" (Breath of Cinema) series in the book newspaper. She is also the author of "Dankai-teki eiga-ron: Drowned Woman" (Sairyusha).
Cooperation and translation： Tom Meth