It's always difficult when someone takes things to extremes, because we end up with extreme points of view. There's nothing I find more boring than the "is it art or is it trash" argument, because I think it obscures the issues of the film itself.
I saw this film at the weekend in a festival showing (the censors here have only passed it for two theatrical showings at festivals, and have banned it from home video release) and was sickened and angered by it. Mainly angered. I was angry that someone would dare to put such disgusting images on film.
Now, I knew what I was in for - I researched opinions on the film extensively before going, so I knew about the notorious scenes, but I had also read the numerous praising words regarding technique, particularly the long takes which I am very partial to.
I am in a real quandary about this one. Interviews I've read with Gaspar Noe seem to reveal him as a shallow provocateur with a brilliant technical flair, but nothing underneath. My problem is, that I think he may have created a film that goes beyond his base intentions.
I found a number of profound issues were thrown up for me, namely impotence to change the world around me, how we as humans react to violence being inflicted on others, and the nature of predestination.
Has anyone else seen this film? I have read some threads on the Kubrick newsgroup about it that have gone on at length about Noe's wannabe-Kubrick aspirations, and to be honest, I'm not really interested in those, I'm more interested in specific analysis of what was shown and why.
I also wonder, as a secondary, what Welles' thoughts would have been on extreme cinema. Certainly "Salo" (which from what I've read, contains far worse content) was released within his lifetime, as were a number of violent, exploitative films such as "Cannibal Holocaust" and "I Spit On Your Grave". Does anyone have any information on this also?