Seul Contre Tous / I Stand Alone / One Against All (1998)
Dir: Gaspar Noé
While Argentinian-born Noé was traveling to France for the first time, upon landing his father turned to him and said “They eat horses here” which is unheard of in Argentina. Noé then decided that a horse meat butcher would make a great character in a film, and this formed the basis for his first short Carne (1991). Both Carne and Seul Contre Tous follow the nihilistic life of ‘The Butcher’. A nameless horse butcher whose life quickly unravels after a series of poor life decisions.
Unlike most current filmmakers, who execute ideas for shock or to be ‘transgressive’, Noé is a genuine artist who loves nothing more than upsetting his audience (or, in the case of Irreversible, making some faint), while expressing his thoughts and philosophies. This translates perfectly with the inability to look away at most of this very challenging film. For some reason you can’t help but sympathize with this terrible protagonist which makes this film such an incredible watch. Both Carne and I Stand alone weave together into one long tale of The Butcher’s unfortunate demise. And speaks more on the effects of poverty, and how it can force anyone into doing the unthinkable.
Philippe Nahon’s portrayal of The Butcher is a mesmerizing presence on screen, which has made I Stand Alone been likened to Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ and Schrader’s ‘Hardcore’. Gaspar Noè created a cinematic vision entirely of his own and not seen before with this sorry tale. And for some reason it’s hard to look away for even one frame.
Violence against women, animal slaughter, horse meat, incest and pure nihilism make this a perfect film for anyone looking for something on the darker side of cinema. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. This movie is a literal punch in the stomach for any viewers, experienced or not.
Watch the trailer below. Check back on screamish as we continue to countdown the most disturbing movies of all time!
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