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Standing Ovation

Erica Dasher On Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel in 'Irreversible'

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Erica Dasher On Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel in 'Irreversible'
Photo Source: Liongate
Two of my all-time favorite performances were given by Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassell in Gaspar Noé's 2002 French-language film "Irreversible." I loved Noé's film "Enter the Void" and went back to watch his earlier work. "Irreversible" stayed with me. There's one long shot in particular where Bellucci and Cassell come down from an elevator, walk across a subway platform, and the camera then follows them onto the train. They're having a very heated conversation about women and sexual desire and how it has affected their relationships. It's so well-written that it has to be scripted, but it's so well-acted it feels fully improvised. That's something that I go back to and watch a lot.

It seems like a completely natural, off-the-cuff conversation. And it's done as a "oner" -- all in one take -- so the director is not cutting back and forth. It makes it that much more impressive, magical even. Both of their performances really run the gamut of emotions and they are given greater impact because the story is told out of sequential order. Bellucci's character, Alex, goes through a very horrific experience at the beginning of the movie, and Cassell's character, Marcus, is dealing with it. Then it reverts to earlier in the same day, and you see what led up to this traumatic moment. So you see them in love, rolling around in bed, and talking about Alex potentially being pregnant. You see them out at a party and getting into a fight. Then there is the scene I referred to earlier with the conversation on the subway. It's a beautiful range, and of course, the whole experience of the movie is accented by Noé's completely innovative filmmaking.

I don't speak French, but the depth of emotion really came across, especially from Cassell. He has this tangible volatility; you never know what he's going to do next, which is a frightening and exciting element of his performance. Cassell and Bellucci are married in real life, so there's a chemistry and love between them you wouldn't otherwise get. The film also feels very modern in terms of the craft. I recently watched the film version of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and there is a certain theatricality that goes with that period of time and that piece of literature. The actors handle that poetic language beautifully, but in contrast, a movie like "Irreversible" feels very much like it's happening in real time right in front of you. There is something exciting in that.



Erica Dasher is the star of ABC Family's hit comedy-drama series "Jane by Design." Dasher was last seen in TheWB.com's original web series "The Lake." She has also produced her own documentary feature, "Speakeas,y" which documents the lives of a group of teenagers who vie for high school glory in the world of competitive acting, otherwise known as forensics.

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