After watching the film here was my honest reaction: I imagine Noe to be a recent graduate of film school—with talent and an earnest love of Nietzsche and Taxi Driver. Being a college student, he’s naturally idealistic and outraged at the injustice of modern society—the way the poor are forgotten and abused (the film showcases the lives of these individuals, on the one hand…). At the same time, he has a dismissive attitude towards conventional morals and middle-class values (…while defiantly waving a banner of the ubermensch…OK, that might be excessive, but I think it’s appropriate).
So. That’s my reaction, but I’m interested in hearing from those who have another take on the film, especially those who think highly of it.
I believe he graduated film school at least a decade before he made the film.
Also, the main influence was Gerard Kargl’s Angst, not Taxi Driver or Nietzsche.
Well, I guess I’m technically wrong, but that was my honest reaction.
I see that you really loved the film. What did you love about it, or what makes you think highly of it?
Right now, I think that this is Noe best film. I also like Irreversible too, but I think I Stand Alone has been the only time he was trying to actually say something. I think all of his films are essentially trying to say something about the state of modern society but in the case of Enter the Void and why it fails for me, it becomes too visually cluttered and the original intent of the film is lost. I Stand Alone is straightforward and strong all the way through.
I read the film as doing two things: 1) raising social awareness of people cast off by society (i.e., middle and upper classes)—as in, here are these people and their lives; 2) flaunting a kind of defiance towards conventional notions of morality—not in a coherent or substantive way, but simply flipping the bird, so to speak.
This is my initial reaction and I really haven’t thought deeply about the film, so I could be totally wrong about the film. So I’m interested in hearing reasons others would disagree with this reading. (Btw, the first point is commendable, but it is just seems a little superficial to me, especially when it’s combined with the second point.)
I also think that films like Taxi Driver and Davis Holzman’s Diary deal with similar issues in a more intelligent and artistically satisfying way.
It’s hard not to think of a film like Taxi Driver when thinking about basically any film that deals with isolation or the outcasts. I don’t have anything to say against what you feel the film represens, nor do I think there’s anything wrong with it. With that, I think it does give a big finger to the situation and suggests that there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. Morals are gone and people are going to get worse and worse. And in a way, I think Taxi Driver leans towards that mentality as well, but makes it seem like there’s a possibility for change.
The film isn’t meant to be some subtle, difficult translation of modern disaffection. It’s a brick aimed at your face.
It dissects things without moralizing them. That’s its success. Morality is a construct for survival, but how is one to accept it when one believes society presents nothing worth surviving for?
It’s not about how you constructed morality in the film. It’s about how the film asks you to give it up and well you succeed or fail in that regard.
That’s what Noe does in this that he fails in his later works to do. He presents an absolute, but he attaches it to the audience not to his imagery.
It’s primarily about morals, how they were built for having a more stable society but they went “wrong” somewhere. The hateful actions we see during the film will remain unnoticed, no one will remember them a few days later, but the final “happy” scene? Uhoh, “immoral.” Maybe they have more restrictive values than positive ones somewhere. Now I Stand Alone didn’t make me to want to fuck my daughter (whenever I’ll have one, of course) to find redemption but it surely was a film capable of forcing me to look closer at the issues it brought up, that everything cultures teach us shouldn’t be taken for granted, active engagement and contemplation is necessary. Obvious points maybe, but the film did its job perfectly nonetheless.
And for the record I don’t like Noe’s subsequent films at all.
Seems I disagree with you most of you, although I do love I Stand Alone, I believe he gets progressively better (including his short film Carne, which is kind of a pre-I Stand Alone).
Noe, when making I Stand Alone said something along the lines of “I want to make an anti-French film”, and I think he has completely succeeded. Visually, he takes the piss out of people like Godard with his wipe-pans and whatever else, the dramatic subtitles etc. Also, and perhaps more importantly, there is not a single nice thing shown about the Butcher, a character that would normally represent the average French person. He instead has just about every negative trait you can imagine. Noe is saying “this is what France is, we have tried to ignore it, but these people exist”. It is no fluke that the film was made during a rise in extreme-right politics in France, and it shows how perhaps a normal right-wing person was starting to feel excluded from society, and thus becoming more extreme. He constantly has power taken away from him, he is refused the job, he doesnt have enough bullets to kill all the people he wants etc.
Just for note, I have seen people accuse Noe of being racist and stuff like that, but I think anyone who watches his films can see he is hardly showing the extreme-right positively…an incestual wannabe-murderer isn’t exactly a great thing to be…
Definitely Noe’s best film and a masterpiece as well.
Jazz, what were you doing while watching this film?;)
I stand with the others on this thread that think this is a great debut film.
a masterpiece of what exactly Blue?
Noe has developed a very distinctive style that consists of darkt themes combined with a very unsettling and modern cinematography
When seeing interviews with him he comes off as a bit of a provocateur just for the sake of it but as always these things are hard to tell.
There is quite an interesting tv special directed by Bruce La Bruce where he is meeting up with Harmony Korine (including a ridiculous sequence in which they visit an actor from his Trash Humpers feature) for anybody who’s interested. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1664193/combined)
Also, “brick in your face” as someone mentioned before seems to be a very fitting description to me ,)
Hm,I have always thought his themes are great but maybe that is because I’m in film school,so..
On the other hand,your paragraph kind of reads like that only juvenile people would do films about this topics and not only I disagree I also think this is much more juvenile.You can say that he is not good at expressing this ideas and I would disagree but respect your opinion.
Nietzsche fascinates me but I’m not sure I actually subcribe to much he says. The Ubermensch could use a bit more defining, and some have claimed it is just another leap of faith to replace his faith in God. He seems to also pre-suppose Eternal Recurrance without much explanation. That The Will to Power is the first instinct over self-preservation, I do think is evident. Why he wasn’t as rigorous in other areas, I don’t know. Sorry, kinda off-topic. Never seen I Stand Alone… I will place it higher on my list now…
I don’t give that interpretation, Noe is neutral and never justifies the main character actions, he is telling things how they are, why are we asking then!?, the idea is very good. And overall i liked. The problem i found is that abuses on too superficial resources, but Noe doesnt care at all, the off voice turns out to be great at the end.
it’s obviously much better and more mature than Irreversible. And not as good as his masterpiece: Enter the void.
Morality is a construct for survival, but how is one to accept it when one believes society presents nothing worth surviving for?
I sort of like this because it sparked an explanation for the ending (and a better understanding of the film as a whole)—namely, that morality begins to crumble for people society have forsaken. Adherence to moral code provides stability and security to society and allows the individual to benefit from this. However, if the individual feels forsaken by society or he/she is not benefiting from it, then the impulse and desire to adhere to morality and social conventions begin to erode. This is what seems to happen at the end of the film, although I’m not sure if this is such a compelling reading. Do the poor and disenfranchised begin to behave immorally for the reasons stated above? Perhaps, one could make an argument for that—although in the film, the butcher seems to present a more philosophical (Nietzschean) rationale for his behavior, and I’m not sure that’s what’s going on in real life.
…it surely was a film capable of forcing me to look closer at the issues it brought up, that everything cultures teach us shouldn’t be taken for granted, active engagement and contemplation is necessary.
What specifically did the film force you to reexamine (people on the fringe? morality and social conventions?)?
Noe is saying “this is what France is, we have tried to ignore it, but these people exist”.
That makes sense and that’s a worthy objective, if French society, indeed, ignored the issue. Still, there’s something disappointing about this approach—as in it seems a bit lacking in subtlety or maybe the presentation is disappointing. What’s your take on the ending?
Jazz, what were you doing while watching this film?;)
Apparently not paying enough attention; so help a guy out.
You can say that he is not good at expressing this ideas…
That’s closer to my meaning—although, to be clear, I haven’t really sat down and thought about the film (like I’m starting to now), so I admit that I could be totally off base, and I’m open to changing my mind.
@Jazzaloha – by the ending, do you mean the ‘fantasy’ ending and ‘dream murder’? If so, my take on that is that the Butcher is SO powerless that he cant even act out his own fantasy of killing his daughter and ‘saving them’ from the fucked up society he sees it as, instead he resorts to abusing his daughter, giving into his incestual desire instead. His power is replaced by not being able to holdback from perhaps the biggest taboo going. So if we apply this to the French nation, its another statement that the France Noe is showing is powerless, and therefore resorts to these extreme behaviour (The Butcher being incest, France being racist or the rise of the extreme right), a pretty undesirable one.
By ending, see the following:
Man is Moral
(The butcher walks on to the balcony after probably had sex with his daughter. The daughter comes on to the balcony with him, hugging him while he hugs and fondles her.)
I don’t know how it’s going to end. But, here, with you, I exist. And I’m happy. Happier than ever. The rest doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s our last day. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll never shoot myself. Maybe I’ll make love to you and tomorrow I’ll be locked up. Four months, a year, or two. So what? Jail isn’t the end of the world. (Camera pans away from father and daughter on the balcony, looking down a street) If worse comes to worse, I can always hang myself. Whatever. Even if they lock me up, I’ll always have this moment to hold on to. And the satisfaction of fulfilling my desire instead of somebody else’s. In the end, maybe my life has meaning. To protect you. To bring you all the happiness that nobody else will ever give you. You are a little girl. And I will make of you…a woman. We’ll do it and we’ll be happy. It will be our secret. In any event, whether we do it or not won’t change the course of humanity. And for me and for you, it’ll change everything. People think they’re free. But freedom doesn’t exist. There are only laws that strangers have made for their own good; laws that bind me in unhappiness. And among these laws one says that I must not love you because you are my daughter. And why? If they forbid us this love, surely it’s not because it’s evil. But because it’s too powerful. Between us, that’s all that I can see. I love you. That’s all there is to it.
That’s cold, man.^
What is cold about it?
It doesn’t happen that I remember:Maybe I’ll make love to you…
From the wiki:The Butcher also makes a cameo appearance at the beginning of Irréversible, Noe’s follow-up to I Stand Alone. In a drunken monologue, the Butcher reveals that he was arrested for having sex with his daughter.
Turpitude filmed well.
Why is this film so tremendously underrated anyway?