Here, Noe tried to show the horror present in everyday situations that we always refuse to admit: the lack of empathy in people. The avoidance of unnecessary complications in life have made people more indifferent than ever; generally, no one wants to help an unknown person in the time of actual distress unless there is malicious intent. Noe exemplifies this notion in his film by showing a woman getting violently raped on the subway, which she was forced to endure as a reward of helping another transgender person who was getting raped by the same person priorly. The camera remains static throughout the film in the form of a silent spectator, unable to do anything but witness the horror in the screen. In this timespan, some spectators enter the subway, watches this vicious crime from a distance, and flees from the place soon to avoid getting involved.
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But in the wake of the MeToo movement, asks Geoffrey Macnab , is revisiting such a film unconscionable? Looking around the cinema, you saw other spectators staring at their feet, trying to avert their gaze from the screen. They seemed a little bit ashamed about being there. Seventeen years on, the scene still has the same repellent power that so upset audiences and critics, provoking mass walkouts when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Surely, in the wake of the MeToo movement , showing such a film again is absolutely unconscionable? In fact, according to the filmmakers, the reverse is the case.
The film employs a reverse chronology and follows two men through the streets of Paris as they seek to avenge a brutally raped girlfriend. Much of the film's soundtrack was composed by Thomas Bangalter , one half of the electronic music duo Daft Punk. The film was particularly controversial upon its release for its graphic portrayal of violence, specifically the scene where a man is savagely bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher and its minute long take rape of Alex Monica Bellucci , who is then brutally beaten into a coma. It had accusations of apparent homophobia as well.
A year earlier when it debuted at Cannes , the movie proved to be so divisive and shocking it made people leave the cinema in droves. If you dare, you can watch this movie on the Showbox app now. One audience member spoke about how the cinema remained very quiet before becoming unbearable. It was like a little fight inside.