Following in the slipstream of his 2015 3D porno Love, Gaspar Noé’s latest film, Climax, didn’t disappoint fans of the famous iconoclast, who presented it outside the official selection in the Directors’ Fortnight. Set in Paris, it tells the story of a rag-tag group of street dancers who gather in a church hall to work on a dance routine together. As soon as they’ve nailed it, the choreographer treats them to a party—unaware that one of their number has spiked the sangria with LSD.
Though its stylistic influences are fictional—Dario Argento’s Suspiria, set in a demonic dance school, and George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which offers an early taste of the zombie apocalypse—Climax is, its director insists, inspired by real events. “It’s a true story,” he assured us, “but we didn’t keep the names because, if you do a movie about real events, the families can be upset if anything changes, or it’s not really how it happened. So we decided—me and my producer, who was obsessed with the story—to not link it to the real events that happened, so no one can complain that there are differences between what happened.”
For his cast, Noé wanted to find the best dancers in Paris, all of them proficient in arcane styles known as “Vogueing”, “krumping” and “whacking”. “After going to some Vogueing ballrooms [in Paris] that really excited my eyes and my brain,” said Noé, “I went to some krump events and I went a lot to the websites where I could watch girls doing whacking battles. We saw street dancers we knew that were really impressive, and it was a mix of going to events, checking on websites, calling the people. Nowadays, it’s very easy to contact people through Instagram or through Facebook, so we ended up finding all the people that we wanted.”
Amazingly, despite the technical challenges that faced him, Noé was done and dusted in no time. “The whole pre-production was very fast,” he said. “It took just four weeks. We shot the movie in 15 days, and then the whole post-production took less than two months. I never thought I could do a movie so fast.”
For more from Noé, check out the video above.