It may not be a film, but Gaspar Noé's latest project, a photo shoot in collaboration with Unemployed Magazine, captures the same visceral emotion and raw intensity we've come to expect from the boundary-pushing director. Set against the backdrop of Spain's iconic La Tomatina festival in Buñol, the project captures the essence of one of the world's most unique and vibrant festivals.
For those unfamiliar with La Tomatina, this annual event has been a hallmark of the Valencian town of Buñol since 1945. Participants engage in a one-hour tomato fight, purely for entertainment purposes. The festival takes place on the last Wednesday of August and is a part of Buñol's week-long festivities.
Joining Noé on this creative endeavor were stylist Helena Tejedor and artist Maria Forque, known by her stage name Virgen Maria. The trio navigated through the slippery, crimson sludge that covers the streets during the festival, capturing moments that are at once chaotic and incredibly human.
The town of Buñol, typically home to around 9,000 residents, sees its population soar to nearly 40,000 during the festival. Due to limited accommodations, many participants arrive from Valencia, located 38 km away, adding to the event's frenzied atmosphere.
Local shop owners prepare for the onslaught by covering their storefronts with large plastic shields, protecting them from the 146 tons of tomatoes that will be hurled through the air.
Noé's photography manages to capture the spectacle and energy of La Tomatina in a way that is evocatively raw yet artfully composed. His work, along with that of Tejedor and Virgen Maria, offers a fascinating look into this "epically unemployed" Spanish tradition, turning an otherwise mundane fruit into an emblem of collective joy and abandon.