Gaspar Noé: “All Directors Are ‘Sucking D*cks For Financing’”

From his 2002 rape-revenge drama “Irreversible” to last year’s sexually-explicit 3D drama “Love,” director Gaspar Noé has never resisted the chance to provoke a strong reaction from his audience. That was certainly the case on Saturday at the Locarno Film Festival, when the Argentine filmmaker engaged in a lengthy public discussion about his work. The conversation, presented by The Red Bull Music Academy, was supposed to focus on psychedelia and drugs in cinema. While that topic was addressed — “the best LSD trip in the history of cinema is ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’” he said early on — Noé eventually turned to a more heated diatribe on the challenges involved in making movies today.

“No director is independent,” he said. “They’re all sucking dicks to get some financing, [whether it’s] from Warner Bros. or some French TV company.” The director included himself in that assertion. “The truth is, when you make movies, you have to learn how to lie,” he added. “You have to convince people to give you money and you pretend they’ll get double, triple or 10 times as much.”

As an example, he cited his experience getting financing for “Irreversible,” which he pitched as a story told in reverse order to capitalize on the popularity of Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” at the time. Additionally, while the film’s notorious rape scene does contain graphic imagery, he recalled telling financiers they had nothing to worry about. “They asked me, ‘So there’s explicit sex in the movie?’” he explained. “I said, ‘Of course not’…That’s how the movie was made.”

Noé attributed his ability to make his next two films to the surprising commercial success of “Irreversible,” which grossed $792,000 in limited release. “Probably people regret that they made it,” he said. “But I’m very happy they did…I’m very proud of every single movie, whether they make money or not.” (“Irreversible” was produced in part by StudioCanal.)

He then shifted gears to discuss his experience transitioning out of short films to features, where he first experienced the business side of the film world. “When you make shorts, people don’t get paid. It’s mostly about being diplomatic that you’re going to do a masterpiece of short cinema,” he said. “You have to make sure the team is your friends because you’re learning the language, learning how to live, learning how to work.” Noé made his first feature, “I Stand Alone,” in 1998, and it was around that time that his perspective evolved. “When you get into the real world, where people have salaries, it’s another dimension in which the best people can be so annoying when they work over one hour,” he said. “I learned how greedy people were working on features.”


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