Gaspar Noé has offered himself an unexpected actor for Vortex : Dario Argento, the mythical director of fantastic films. At 81, he made his debut there in front of the camera, giving the reply to Françoise Lebrun, the heroine of The Mom and the Whore of Jean Eustache, in the role of his wife suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and of Alex Lutz in that of his toxic son.
“Gaspar easily convinced me to accept the role, explains Dario Argento to 20 minutes. I found it easy to act under his direction. In a Parisian apartment, the couple is increasingly separated by the devouring disease from which the old lady is suffering. The screen is divided into several parts, using the split-screen technique, to symbolize their progressive distancing.
A tailor-made role
“At my age, obviously, the subject speaks to me and that all the more so since I recently lost my ex-girlfriend Daria Nicolodi, someone who meant a lot in my life,” says Dario Argento. Far from the provocations for which he is renowned, Gaspar Noé this time surrounds his characters with great tenderness. Vortex is a work as poignant as it is mature, evoking more Love by Michael Haneke thatIrreversible.
“I also accepted because Gaspar guaranteed me that I wouldn’t have to learn a text,” says Dario Argento. Originally, the screenplay was twelve pages long! But the character looks like me because he likes cinema. It was easy for me to project myself. A tasty scene confronts the director turned actor with French critics for the time of a conversation with high cinephilic content. “Gaspar had to cut because we let ourselves be carried away by our common passion”, remembers Dario Argento.
Passion above all
“Passion” is the key word of this intensely beautiful film. “ Vortex is above all a love story, between man and woman, between parents and children. I just had to let myself be carried away during the month and a half that the shooting lasted. I put myself at the service of Gaspar. The viewer is taken to the guts by the ordeal that this man undergoes at the end of his life in the face of the downfall of the one he loves.
“The difference with my films is that Vortex is realistic, which makes it very strong,” says Dario Argento. He does not see himself returning the favor to Gaspar Noé by having him play in one of his films. “It’s too difficult to direct a director,” he jokes. I wouldn’t risk it! “However, he returned to the plateaus for the giallo Occhiali Neri of which he entrusted the main role to his daughter Asia.