Film review: La Nuit by Adrien Dantou

“It was over there I guess.”  An austere-looking mother and daughter emerge from a forest covered in fog. In the middle of an open field they hold still and look into the distance.  “There was a path that led directly to the sea,” the mother continues, “I have never been able to go back.” The daughter doesn’t say a word. She looks anxiously around and bends her head down to the ground. Then they gradually disappear back into the forest. 

The scarcely provided verbal information in this opening scene of La Nuit (2013), the second short film by the French director Adrien Dantou, forebodes precisely what is going to happen: a full immersion into the darkness of painful memories.  The nightmare takes off when the young woman decides to stay in a house in the middle of the forest, while her mother leaves. It is as if she were trapped within the four walls of a haunted house. The tiniest noise, a slamming door or crackling wooden floor, is taking the woman again and again back to the spooky forest.  Sound is a critical component and provides a well-dosed sense of suspense and unease.  After the nightmare has reached its full climax, the daughter slowly starts walking into the complete darkness. She heads towards the murmur of the waves on the invisible shore. With a face covered in tears she is courageously taking the path that leads directly to the sea: the one her mother wasn’t able to go back to.

Author : Gerdien Smit*

Title: La Nuit

Director: Adrien Dantou

Year: 2013

Run time: 18'23''

Genre: Fiction

Country: France

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*Every day Cineuropa Shorts, in collaboration with Nisimazine and Lago Film Fest (18-26 July), offers you film reviews and interviews made in Lago by the brilliant Nisimazine’s team of young journalists.

21 July 2014, by Nisimazine