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Short of the Week: 'Carne', a dark 1991 thriller by Gaspar Noé

'Carne' - Gaspar Noé

Argentine filmmaker Gaspar Noé has developed a global reputation for his incredibly subversive and fiercely original artistic vision. With modern masterpieces like Irréversible and Enter the Void under his belt, Noé has followed in the footsteps of Stanley Kubrick and Jean-Luc Godard. His works serve as crystallisations of philosophical reflections which attempt to translate an overwhelming existential despair to the cinematic medium.

Carne is an early short film by Noé which stars Philippe Nahon as a butcher (a recurring character in many of his films). The film is a brutal psychoanalytical incursion into societal taboos, following the story of the butcher who harbours incestuous fantasies about his mute daughter. Carne was later developed into Noé’s feature debut, the shocking 1998 cult classic I Stand Alone.

Noé recalled: “When I was seventeen I had just finished secondary school, high school. I wanted to do comic books… as a comic book artist, as an illustrator. But I’m not very good so I thought I should do something else! So I went to a film school when I was seventeen and came out when I was nineteen. I enjoyed doing a first short there, as a director.

“And you know, once you start something—when a kid starts drawing something and the parents like him for what he has done he becomes a painter later—well, I went to this film school and I did this movie which was quite successful so I said well, maybe I could become a director. Then I did a second short and then I worked a bit as assistant director. And then I started writing other scripts and between them there was this script of Carne and I shot it.”

Adding, “It took me a long time to shoot Carne. And once it was released [in 1991] it was a huge success for a movie which was just forty minutes long. It was shown at Cannes and got prizes there. It was even shown in Sundance as a feature film, and was received everywhere as a feature even if it was just forty minutes long. So I decided to do a sequel which would permit Carne to really become a feature length movie.”

Watch Gaspar Noé’s 1991 short film Carne in its entirety below.