XIXAX Film Forum

Film Discussion => 2017 In Film => Topic started by: wilder on May 11, 2017, 08:38:02 PM

Title: Nocturama
Post by: wilder on May 11, 2017, 08:38:02 PM

The new film by Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent, House of Pleasures) is a terrorism thriller like no other, recalling Robert Bresson’s The Devil, Probably as much as it does George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. We first follow a group of tense, shifty adolescents as they prowl the streets and subways of Paris, learning through carefully delineated sequences that they’re already well underway with a bombing plot. And then it becomes something familiar, yet altogether different, as these subversives tuck away inside a shopping mall and lose themselves in consumer culture — clothes, televisions, toys, and a stirring soundtrack that includes Blondie, Chief Keef, Shirley Bassey, Bonello’s menacing electronic score, and Willow Smith. Will they survive the unseen, encroaching authorities? Or, as the walls close in, will they even survive each other? Nocturama presents no easy answers; what it does offer is one of the 21st century’s most stirring cinematic experiences.

Written and Directed by Bertrand Bonello
Release Date - August 11, 2017 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Metrograph in New York City, with national dates to follow
Title: Re: Nocturama
Post by: wilder on July 29, 2017, 03:38:20 AM
Director's statement, via ARTFORUM:

Released mere months after the series of terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, Bertrand Bonello’s provocative film Nocturama (2016) centers on a gang of French teenagers, played by actors and nonprofessionals, who conspire to blow up national and corporate landmarks throughout the city in a wave of coordinated bombings. It will be released from Grasshopper Film on August 11, 2017, and will play at theaters in New York before a larger US tour this September. The Film Society at Lincoln Center will also host “Deeper into Nocturama” from August 18 to August 24, 2017, a program featuring films selected by Bonello that have inspired his work. Additionally, his twenty-four-minute short film Sarah Winchester, Ghost Opera (2016), based on the biography of the eccentric nineteenth-century gun heiress, is now available on the Grasshopper Film website. (http://grasshopperfilm.com/transmissions-bonello/)

NOCTURAMA WAS MADE BEFORE the Paris attacks, but it was released after. It was very difficult for people to see this kind of narrative. The film had some common points with the attacks, but at the same time it was very different. Islamist terrorism has nothing to do with insurrection—not in its classical sense. In the film, some young people are planting bombs to attack Paris in similar places and at simultaneous times. But it’s not reality; it’s not about ISIS, there is not a clear reason for their actions, and there’s no one explaining why these attacks are happening. Still, it was too tough for some audiences to watch. But when you mix reality and abstraction, it speaks to the success and the power of cinema.

One of my favorite books—and one that helped me with the writing of Nocturama—is The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude by Étienne de La Boétie. It was written in the sixteenth century by a twenty-year-old, and it is still one of the strongest political books about insurrection. It presents ancient ideas: the notion of the people versus the state…and, well, actually, of freedom. We are very attached to freedom. It has always run through our history and culture.

We live in a period that can create a person who is totally fascinated by terrorism and capitalism at the same time. If I had made Nocturama forty years ago I would have only made the first part of the film, because it was about the reality of the streets. The first part was shot during the day with a lot of movement in real places, including the Paris metro, almost like a documentary. It’s the second part of the film that makes it feel very contemporary, because it is in an artificial, commercial world that we constructed. We were very lucky to find an old department store in the center of Paris called La Samaritaine. It was totally empty, so we had to recreate everything inside. What was fascinating about it is that it doesn’t have any windows, so you are kept from the reality of the outside, as if you were in a box. The space was very expensive, so we didn’t rent it for that long. I think we had it for four weeks before the shoot, and then we shot inside of it for six weeks. Every Saturday and Sunday I would spend alone there—just walking around trying to find the next shot. These were weird moments. Some people talk about malls and department stores as dreamy places. In fact, they’re freaky; they’re a dream and hell at the same time.

Cannes didn’t want the film, so we decided to go to the Toronto and San Sebastian festivals. The exclusion from Cannes probably didn’t help for sales and at the box office. There were so many articles and messages on online social networks that said the film was not selected at Cannes because of its subject. The controversy began from there, and it was difficult to stop it. Of course, I wonder how the film would have been received if it were released two years before. The French critics understood it. My problem was with the social networks, the blogs. There are a lot of haters on these platforms.

In many of my films, like House of Tolerance, Nocturama, and Sarah Winchester, Ghost Opera, I’m attracted to places that become their own inside world. I heard of Sarah Winchester ten or twelve years ago, and when I read the story of her life I immediately wanted to make a film about it. I started to write a treatment, but it immediately became too expensive. And it had to be an American film, because it was a real American story. I didn’t feel like I could achieve it, so I left it on my desk and dropped it. When the Paris Opera gave me carte blanche for a project as part of its Third Scene initiative, I decided the form of the opera would be an amazing way to tell the Winchester story. I’m still surprised that there is not an American film about this story—someone like Michael Cimino could have made an amazing version of it, a true story about America based on one woman.
Title: Re: Nocturama
Post by: Drenk on July 29, 2017, 08:14:48 AM
I'm probably gonna watch it now. It was impossible a few months after the Paris attacks. The fact that the terrorists aren't islamists didn't help, I just didn't want to see young people putting bombs after hundred of people—and mostly young people—had been savagely murdered. I'm very curious to see how I'll react to it...

It's definitely the first time that a real event is clouding a movie for me.
Title: Re: Nocturama
Post by: Drenk on August 06, 2017, 07:44:30 AM
That was very good. The movie gets you under the skin of these young people. And it's as creepy as it is sad. These people are my age. They look like people I know or see everyday. Bonello said that people born in the half-nineties heard all their lives that everything that will happen to them will be shitty. I don't know if I've heard it, but I definitely feel it. And at some point you say nothing and you let yourself drift, trying to say something. But what, really? There is a feeling of helplessness in the movie.

I love how he filmed the subway. We spend a lot of time underground.

It's impossible not to think about the past attacks, of course. The news. The police cars. The helicopters. The words said. The silence. But it is easy to get into what the movie is, and it's not about islamic terror—even if some of what happens is familiar. The same way that seeing them wandering in Paris the same way I do also makes me think of the real terrorists that did just that and how the people who were killed lived there too—that I was a target too. But the movie is not about killing people who like going to a concert or who like drinking outside with their friends in a warm november night.

I also liked how the movie dealt with time; it could have been a gimmick, but the fact that nothing is in sync as if everything was still to happen after it happened or as if events stuttered, is captivating.

There is a lot of tension. I wasn't bored.

And Bonello made a great scene of cinema with Willow Smith.