Chaos Reign : 10 years of Chaos

Before it became an unavoidable media for transversal cinephilia, Chaos Reign was a blog. Where its creator Romain Le Vern aimed to expand "Le coin du cinéphile", a column hewrote from 2005 to 2006 in Dvdrama, in which he highlighted rare movies, personal favorites to which he wanted to give more exposure, in the hope of a DVD and Blu-ray release in France. The idea behind Chaos was, keeping the same spirit of discovery, to exhume treasures, in a free and fun tone where emotion and passion were the real drives, far from any theories, with a true desire to transmit. Not to remain in line with the ambient journalistic navel-gazing, nor to impose a voice louder than others, but to arouse enthusiasm, to present the cinema planet as a place of exchange and dialog.

When he realized that the media spoke less and less about the films he loved, it seemed necessary for Romain Le Vern to give them a place, a voice, far from the media’s humdrum. The screening of Lars von Trier's siderating Antichrist in Cannes gave him the perfect title. The words “Chaos reigns”, spoken by the sublime “talking fox”, went beyond cinema and in ten years gained a monstrous magnitude, capable of expressing both the chaos of the world and a cinema of chaos as Romain envisioned it - another cinema, pure and rebellious with a different way of looking at the world, of telling a story, or fitting into an era, attempting things that others don’t, and that also conveys things we may not be able to easily express.

In a few years the blog gained momentum, and became a site for passers on and passionate movie lovers, assembling pens from diverse horizons such as Jérémie Marchetti for old films, Gérard Delorme for critics, Gautier Roos for festival coverage, Geoffroy DeDenis for the underground, Morgan Bizet for video games, along with some artists like Bertrand Mandico or Yann Gonzalez, who will rapidly join the party and become regular contributors. Among the site’s stalwart moments, fondly remembered by the writer’s pool, let’s mention the unforgettable discoveries of films (Distracted Blueberry by Barry Doupé, The Strangers by Na Hong-jin, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ang Lee, The Neon Demon by Nicolas Winding Refn, Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazer...), and the eclosion of authors (Bertrand Mandico, Ari Aster...), or even real shockers come from elsewhere, when series could become metaphysical experiences, with The Third Day: Autumn or Twin Peaks The Return. In the site’s history, let’s remember the brilliant oddball interviews like those led by the woman with a log from Twin Peaks or the nocturnal column “L'invité de minuit” (The Midnight guest).

On the same path as Lars Von Trier’s rebellious creations, the editorial policy is to not follow rules, even less the latest news, but to defend what the staff writers like - or at least part of them: never to fall into the posture of loving a chaos filmmaker’s movie at any cost, to take no account of directors’ pressure politics, nor of the principle that a film ticking all the boxes must necessarily be adulated. The site is not guided by interpretative grids or carcans, but by freedom of the heart.

Paradox: in ten years Chaos Reign has imposed a harmony inspired by the apocalypse, like a voice given to transgressive or marginal art, one that flees the norms and invents new expressions, scaring the boring cantors of good taste, and an art that will remain eternally modern whatever its age. Proof of Chaos Reigns’ victory: this programmation, this fever that will inflame the screens of l’Étrange Festival and somewhat consume us.