Directed by Anne Ã‰mond
Metafilms and K Films Amerique
If there is one unspoken consensus among critics of film, it is that most movies do not know their way around a decent sex scene. Filmmakers conveniently maneuver around nudity like it is forbidden by law. Then, the actors hook up awkwardly for about thirty seconds ““ and scene.
“Nuit #1,” the first feature-length film by Canadian director and screenwriter Anne Ã‰mond, is a film that does not try to hide human sexuality in the dark. It wants the body to be showcased in all its glory, including the post-sex bathroom breaks and fumbling condom disasters. One-night stands can and will go awry, so why not demonstrate this in films?
The film revolves around two young lovers Clara and NikolaÃ¯ (played by Catherine De LÃ©an and Dimitri Storoge respectively) who first meet at a rave and decide to continue their night in the bedroom.
Of course things become complicated when NikolaÃ¯ catches Clara attempting to sneak out in the middle of the night. NikolaÃ¯, although decorated with tattoos and plumes of cigarette smoke, is surprisingly affected by Clara’s abandonment.
The rest of the film features a back-and-forth style couplet of fighting and loving between the two star-crossed lovers. He talks about himself, and she talks about herself. This seems to go on for hours.
The two are inexplicably drawn to each other, and neither seems to know or care why. At times, they tend to respect one another, and at other times, they seem to be playing games.
Although the rave scene is only about two minutes long, it is shot stunningly. From the group of people bouncing in slow motion to the sensual French song that scores the scene, this introduction to the film is hypnotizing and luring. In fact, extending this scene could have vastly improved the pacing of the film.
Directly succeeding the rave, the next portion of the film features about 15 minutes of sex that feel outstandingly realistic. The film strives for realism in the realm of sex but almost into uncomfortable territory in a fashion similar to the 2010 indie film “Blue Valentine.” And that is actually a good thing; subversive films such as these trump trite and cheesy Hollywood flicks.
In addition to the realistic aspect of sex depicted in the film, the dialogue is also ambitious in the realm of realism ““ in fact, almost suspiciously so. At times, the lovers talk in cliches, which don’t suit the film at all. If anything, “Nuit #1″ strives to break romantic cliches. The director may be trying to insinuate that everyone talks in this manner, resulting in an army of cliche’d-loving fools.
In some aspects, “Nuit #1″ is a successful film that features fresh, carnal and gritty imagery. Unfortunately, because of the utterly slow pacing of the film, most viewers will doze off without any sense of reward for their patience. For instance, while the dialogue in the film is intriguing, it constantly drags out much past any point of reason.
And while it is understood that love is a fickle phenomenon, NikolaÃ¯’s and Clara’s relationship does not seem to warrant such bipolarity, because of their very brief and bizarre time together. When viewers come to this realization, the outstanding “real” feel to the film quickly crumbles.