You and the Night

"Good"

You and the Night Review


Surreal and over-constructed, this offbeat French drama often feels more like a stage play than a movie, with its pointed dialogue and a cast of "types". It's also a bit vague and hard to get to the bottom of, which leaves it a curiosity rather than anything more meaningful. But there's an undeniable intrigue to the plot, and some of the characters break out of their boxes to become oddly sympathetic, although that will depend on whether you can identify with one of them.

It's set in a super-modern house owned by Ali and Matthias (Kate Moran and Niels Schneider), who are holding a party with the help of their cross-dressing maid Udo (Nicolas Maury). Sex seems to be the main thing on the menu, so as each person arrives, Udo blankly asks them if they'd like "speed, poppers, cocaine, MDMA, something to drink". On arrival, the guests are given a title rather than using their names, to protect their anonymity. The Stud (Eric Cantona) defines his entire life by his genitalia. The Slut (Julie Bremond) wants everything on her terms only. The Star (Fabienne Babe) prefers the room to be dark, so she can feel and be felt without seeing or being seen. And the Teen (Alain Fabien Delon) is clearly hiding from something. Then the cops arrive looking for the runaway teen, and things take a turn.

Not that there's much of a plot here. The turn is inwards, as the film is much more concerned with the orgy of words than any sense of physicality. There's enough of that to earn the 18 certificate, although it's oddly choreographed to be eerily clinical. And this reflects the way each of the characters seems distanced from real life. Even Ali and Matthias are reluctant to face the truth of their situation (Matthias isn't well). And since these people sit around talking to each other in increasingly arch, stagey ways, the film begins to feel rather pretentious.

Thankfully, each actor manages to reveal the emotional centre of his or her character. None of them are particularly likeable, and all of them are more like theatre characters than actual human beings. But the long, whispered speeches are packed with observations about how people interact, and the film intriguingly follows their stories into flashbacks and even fantastical dream sequences. So it's rather odd that writer-director Gonzalez ultimately reverts to a semblance of traditionalism rather than something more transgressive. Essentially, this film is a parable about how people insulate themselves from the world and end up in their own private purgatory, and that a positive future is only an option if you can get outside and face reality. A good message, but this is more of a theatrical sermon than a movie.



You and the Night

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 13th November 2013

Production compaines: Région des Pays-de-la-Loire, Sedna Films, Garidi Films, Procirep, Angoa-Agicoa, CNAP/Image-Mouvement, Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 9

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Yann Gonzalez

Producer: Cecile Vacheret

Starring: Kate Moran as Ali, Niels Schneider as Matthias, Nicolas Maury as Udo, as L'Étalon, Fabienne Babe as La Star, Alain Delon Jr. as L'Adolescent (as Alain Fabien Delon), Julie Brémond as La Chienne, as Madame La Commissaire, Jean-Christophe Bouvet as Brigadier chef, Pierre-Vincent Chapus as Brigadier adjoint, as Policier Appartement, Frédéric Bayer Azem as Policier Appartement, Louis-Orfeo Marin as Le Fils de la Star

Also starring:

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