Sex as an instrument of murder, as a fruit that tastes of relief, as a refusal to feel anything. You don’t believe in hell? Antoine D’Agata, the legendary Magnum Photos photographer, tells us about just this while “painting” his film like some sort of modern-day Hieronymus Bosch. This monumental four-hour documentary about the lives of both female and male sex workers leaves no doubt as to the sort of drug- and sex-induced trance a large part of humanity is currently living in. D’Agata creates dangerously aesthetic images—beautiful ghosts that haunt and terrify. At the same time, White Noise is a reflection on what photography can or should be, as well as thoughts on the essence of the medium in a portrait of extreme pain and pleasure, of corporal bondage. This spiritualistic work is filled with monologues spoken by prostitutes of both sexes from Cambodia, Ukraine, the Philippines and the United States. Trapped in a nightmarish web, you will leave the cinema changed—as if you were to find yourself on the surface of a new planet.
Having studied under Nan Goldin and Larry Clarke, Antoine D’Agata is a photographer for Magnum, as well as a director of visionary documentaries. He himself was the subject of Tommaso Lusena and Giuseppe Schillaci’s 2009 film The Cambodian Room: Situations with Antoine D'Agata. His films Aka Ana (2008), Atlas (2013) and his latest, White Noise, explore the claustrophobic spaces of intimacy and sex for sale around the world. Phnom Penh is especially important to him, where suffering, fear and pleasure merge into a toxic but photogenic form of mercury.
2005 El Cielo del Muerto (short)
2008 Aka Ana
2018 White Noise