Director: Gaspar Noe

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Gaspar Noé's prior two films screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Carne and I Stand Alone, rocked audiences with their scandalous content and deft craftsmanship. With Irreversible, Noé raises these elements to dizzying heights to create an unforgettable film that shatters the soul as it enthralls the mind.

The sensory assault begins with the first frame of the opening titles and continues to the retina-blasting, eardrum-pounding coda 95 minutes later. Playing with formal conventions, Noé ingeniously constructs the film in reverse order, severely skewing the audience's expectations while probing the philosophical nature of time.

Noé uses remarkable aural and visual techniques to rush through the figurative mind and body of a man consumed by revenge. The camera is alive, breathing, spinning, and prowling through each take. Combining these images with a complex sound design intended to disturb the audience to its core produces an astoundingly organic cinematic sensation. Searing performances enhance the emotional impact by drawing the audience into each scene to feel firsthand the violence and fear, as well as the naked sweetness, of the characters' lives.

A precisely constructed masterpiece, Irreversible penetrates into the darkest regions of human action and existentially, biologically, and sociologically explores the nature of free will and the repercussions of existence.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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