Interviewing the talent is a tricky thing. You have questions; they have answers. Seems easy enough. But talking about art with the artist adds a layer of uncertainty to proceedings because you, the interviewer, have thoughts and reads on the art, and those thoughts and reads will shape the way you approach the interview.
So when I got on Skype to hash out Climax with its director, the talented, one of a kind French maestro Gaspar Noe, I molded my questions around my interpretation of the film as a commentary on 2019 France and its social and racial politics. I mean, the movie begins on a dance scene orchestrated by a group of young people that’s diverse along gender lines, ethnic lines, religious lines, sexual orientation lines, and in the background there hangs a big-ass French flag. How could I watch that and not think that this is what France’s incumbent generation looks like? It’s joyful, and then, after everyone ends up tripping balls on LSD, it’s terrifying.
What an idiot I am! That whole thing was an accident.
I’m reminded of a moment in the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, where Roger, standing on stage in a crowded auditorium, talks about finding symbols and meanings in movies, and that they won’t be there, but we’ll find them anyways. (Not an exact quote. That’s the one thing I presently can’t find.) I tried not to distract myself thinking of that moment throughout the rest of my interview with Gaspar. The good news is that he’s a gracious, talkative, curious guy, and the whole thing went swimmingly in spite of me. Which means you have good reason to go read it.
You can find the full interview posted on RogerEbert.com.