The finale of “Lux Aeterna” tells you a few things about the film and its compelling levity. Noé doesn’t really seem interested in complicating his loaded and barely sensible view of cinema as a medium designed to subjugate and drain its (female) stars of their characteristic vitality. Instead, all the little things that make Noah’s wives lose their minds end up appearing as relatively mild symptoms of an ungodly energy that ends up possessing everyone on the “God’s Work” set. The machine starts to work on its own, despite the micromanagement and annoying interruptions of individual collaborators. And by the time Gainsbourg appears on set: the sight of a fiery woman writhing on a wooden stake feels less like a tragic ritual than a darkly comic surrender to dark forces far outside the reality of this film. .
Again, the reality of this movie exists primarily because of the line that follows its title. Noé is a master of ghastly ambiance and in “Lux Aeterna” his collaborators do another excellent job of overwhelming viewers with his authoritarian, even dictatorial style of image-making. The film’s half-hearted jokes, about frustrated female artists and their blind male collaborators, tend to be a footnote and thankfully beside the point. But if you adjust your expectations, you’re more likely to accept “Lux Aeterna” as a vigorously realized doodle.
Showing in select theaters.
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