This title sequence of the most controversial French film from 2002 can easily hold its own next to the great classic ones.
Here’s a title sequence with a monumental, commanding impact due to intelligent typographic interventions, razor-sharp editing, and pulsating motion graphics. The sounds and music are meticulously chosen, including the strategicaly placed moments of silence. It’s astounding how, with these simple means, a haunting atmosphere is evoked. Here, a title sequence transcends its mere function, to become an artform in its own right. The tension between perfection and distortion is interesting. A feeling of discomfort starts to settle in as the vertical titles start to slope, before tumbling across the screen. A Hitchcockian tune ensues, followed by a mysterious still image, tumbling. The pulsating credits in the second part of the title sequence are accompanied by a large drum beat.
In Irréversible’s story, time is inversed and scenes from the past and the present are interweaved. With the title sequence, Gaspar Noé employs inversion as a formal strategy by flipping letters and words to create a sense of suspense, urgency, and fear. You just know that something big, something profound is going to happen.
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About Gaspar Noe
Gaspar Noé (1963) is an Argentinian-born French filmmaker, best known for the 2002 highly controversial film Irreversible. Noé is often praised for experimental formal approach and preference for provocative and philosophical topics. Citing the works of Stanley Kubrick and Gerald Kargl as major influences, he is often aligned with the taboo-breaking New French Extremity breed of filmmakers, a generation of creators fascinated with the dark and violent underbelly of society.