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Gasper Noe’s Polarizing ‘Climax’ Wins Top Prize at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

Cannes 2018: A24 will distribute Noe’s macabre odyssey into a dance troupe’s drug-fueled breakdown

After shocking the crowd in France, Gasper Noe has come away with the top prize at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, as his LSD-fueled odyssey “Climax” was awarded the Art Cinema Award by the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE).

Sold and co-produced by Wild Bunch, with A24 picking up the North American distribution rights earlier this week, “Climax” follows a dance troupe led by Sofia Boutella as they go through a physically demanding rehearsal, only to suffer the worst trip imaginable after unknowingly drinking sangria laced with LSD. Orgies, self-mutiliation and elaborate choreography to Daft Punk is included.

“The acid hits, the bottom falls out, and we’re off to the races, never looking back,” Ben Croll wrote in his review of the film for TheWrap. “The film’s style matches the various phases of the trip, with director of photography Benoit Debie’s fluid camera moving in lockstep with the legion of feral performers, tracking their bodies in unceasing motion as they dance through paranoia, ecstasy and delirium.”

Directors’ Fortnight is a sidebar run independently of the Cannes Film Festival and is officially a noncompetitive section. But several sponsors of the program hand out their own awards to films in the Fortnight.

Also winning was Gianni Zanasi’s “Lucia’s Grace,” which received the Europa Cinemas Label for the best European film at the Fortnight. Pierre Salvatore’s romantic comedy “The Trouble With You” won the SACD Prize for best French-language film. Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan’s short film “Skip Day” won the Illy Award.

“Lucia’s Grace” stars Alba Rohrwacher as a weary single-mother who is struggling with both personal and professional relationships. But her life is completely changed when she starts getting visions of a surly Virgin Mary who asks her to build a church where they first met.

“The Trouble With You” stars Adele Haenel as a detective on the French Riviera that gets entangled in an investigation as she discovers that her late husband, a supposedly heroic police officer, was actually a crooked cop deep in corruption.

“Skip Day” follows a group of high-school seniors in an industrial section of the Florida Everglades.