‘Lux Æterna’ Review

Lux Æterna is a stellar chaotic work from the French provocateur’s mind as he explores when the creative process goes wrong.

CREDIT: Les Cinémas de la Zone


I had to make sure that Vortex was not the last film from Gaspar Noé that I got the chance to watch on the big screen. Lux Æterna has been easily one of my most anticipated films to watch since I learned about the film in 2019. I waited and waited forever to hear some sort of news about this film coming to the United States but nothing ever happened. That was until this year when Yellow Veil Pictures acquired the North American theatrical and home media distribution rights to the film. I was so happy that this film would finally be released after three years of waiting around for some sort of glimpse into this chaotic visual poem from Noé. I researched and found a showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and finally, I would watch my most anticipated film from 2019.

Lux Æterna is a visual essay from the enfant terrible, Gaspar Noé. The film made its premiere out of competition at the 2019 edition of the Cannes Film Festival. The film stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Béatrice Dalle, and Abbey Lee along with some regulars from the rest of Noé’s catalog. In the film, we follow the stressful life of a film set led by the director, Beatrice. If you have ever been on a set you understand a lot of the things that can go wrong. It seems that the set begins to crumble apart as the authority is stripped from Beatrice, and the actresses begin to have their boundaries crossed by the crew. All while Beatrice is trying to craft a film about witches that gets stressful with every minute. As the chaos ensues, the women must find a way to cope with the loss of their agency.

Gaspar Noé has once again provided us with a visual spectacle that deals with his anarchistic style while providing nuanced commentary on the film industry. A visual masterpiece of a film, Lux Æterna, catapults into madness on-screen that forces the viewer to never look away from it. The last 15 minutes of the film is a complete assault of the five senses in pure Gaspar Noé fashion as it flashes strobe lights creating the hellish nightmare of losing control. Gainsbourg, Lee, and Dalle superbly provide performances that truly speak volumes about the everyday lives of the people they are representing. Where Gaspar Noé lacks in the runtime of the film he makes up by providing each second with his unique approach to the narrative. Even if this is not as great as his past work like Climax, Love, or Irreversible, Noé finds a way to provide his style while pushing the limits of his narrative in Lux Æterna. Art is difficult to make and Noé is here to remind us that things could get ugly real fast.

Watch Lux Æterna in theaters or on home media coming soon to Blu Ray.

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