REVIEW: One year, one night is a moving depiction of a couple’s fight to survive after the Bataclan attacks

Reading Time: 3 minutes

One year, one night (Un Año, Una Noche) is a film from Spanish director Isaki Lacuesta making its Australian debut at the Sydney Film Festival today. The film depicts the life of a bi-national couple French Céline (Noémie Merlant (who was also in Paris, 13th district that we reviewed ahead of the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022)) and Spanish Ramón (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) living in Paris after surviving the shootings at the Bataclan concert hall in November 2015. It is based on the book Peace, Love and Death Metal written by Bataclan attack survivor Ramón Gonzalez.

One year, one night

One year, one night jolts us between current day and memories of the night of the shootings at the Bataclan just as the characters themselves are constantly jolted and reminded of what happened, and what they survived that night. They each deal with the aftermath of the attacks with polar differences – Céline hasn’t even told her parents, her work colleagues, anyone that she was there that night. Ramón struggles to get back to work and finds himself reliving the night every waking moment. Céline wants to forget and cuts short any conversation among the group of friends that were there with her that night. Ramón becomes obsessed with every single detail and reads every news story. For him, not remembering a detail will lead to catastrophic consequences.

 

Noémie Merlant and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart give impressive, convincing performances which would have demanded a lot of their emotions. We truly believed we were watching a couple trying to survive and return to their normal lives after they were inexplicably, in a single moment, upturned.

The cinematography is also worthy of mention with some beautifully shot scenes – such as a bathroom scene with the couple having a conversation on either side of the heavily frosted door. The soundtrack is comprised of original songs which have a rock feel – much like the band Eagles of Death Metal that the couple had gone to see at the Bataclan that fateful night.

 

The only shortcoming in One year, one night is that the timeline was not true to the way events unfolded. In the film, we have the night of November 2015 Bataclan attacks, later followed by the truck attacks in Nice and later still the Eagles of Death Metal returning to the Bataclan. Those two last events were in reality reversed. The second concert was in February 2016 and the Nice truck attacks on Bastille Day in July 2016. Fortunately, knowing this doesn’t significantly alter the experience of watching film.

 

One year, one night is a beautiful film depicting the realities of trauma following a life-changing attack like that of November 2015 in Paris. Noémie Merlant and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart are actors to watch and I will look for director Isaki Lacuesta’s future releases with interest.

3.5 CROISSANTS

 

KEY INFO FOR ONE YEAR, ONE NIGHT

WHAT: One year, one night, a film showing at Sydney Film Festival 2022

WHERE & WHEN:

Fri 10 Jun 6pm Hayden Orpheum Cremorne – Cinema 5

Sat 11 Jun 8:30pm Ritz Randwick – Cinema 5

Wed 15 Jun 8:15pm Dendy Newtown – Cinema 3

HOW: Purchase your tickets to One year, one night via this link: https://www.sff.org.au/program/browse/one-year-one-night

 

OTHER SFF CONTENT

Sydney Film Festival 2022: French language films

SFF 2022: 12 multilingual films including French

SFF 2022: 14 films from multiple countries including France (that aren’t in French)

REVIEW: Bootlegger puts socio-political issues in a Canadian first nations reserve at the forefront

 

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REVIEW: Bootlegger puts socio-political issues in a Canadian first nations reserve at the forefront

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A Canadian first nations reserve community grapples with questions of alcohol prohibition and self-determination in Bootlegger from filmmaker-artist Caroline Monnet. Bootlegger makes its Australian debut at Sydney Film Festival tonight.

Bootlegger SFF 2022 Review

Law student Mani (Devery Jacobs, Reservation Dogs) returns to the reservation where she grew up to complete investigations for her thesis. She is not entirely welcomed back into the community with some seeing her as just like the others coming to take and then leave. She stirs up community debate about allowing alcohol into the community, which has banned alcohol for a long, long time. She encourages residents of the reserve to consider taking their own power back referring to the laws harking back to a time when they had to give up their own identity and become Canadian citizens in order to vote, and to drink.

 

The head councillor of the band stands firm not wanting to relinquish her power. Mani encourages a referendum to allow the people to decide. The local policeman doesn’t want more alcohol in his community. The town’s bootlegger, Laura (Pascale Bussières), is not happy with the public sentiment and possibility that she will no longer have a lucrative side-hustle in the town which until now has turned a blind eye to her illegally bringing alcohol onto the reserve.

 

Bootlegger is an interesting film that presents both sides of the story without ever judging or forcing a view upon us. We are not being forced to accept Mani’s argument that having government-controlled alcohol sales could actually bring in revenue and allow the community to take back control. Rather, it simply opens up the matter for debate and puts the question into the hands of everyone in the community.

Devery Jacobs and Pascale Bussières are impressive in their roles fighting for opposing sides of the argument – not that Laura would want to vote yes to a referendum on allowing alcohol – that would stop her making as much money. Rounding out the cast are Brigitte Poupart, Jacob Whiteduck-Lavoie, Joshua Odjick, Jacques Newashish, Dominique Pétin and Samian.

 

Bootlegger was filmed at the First Nations reserve Kitigan Zibi, Tiohtiake /Mooniyang and their environs. Set against the harsh bleak winters of Quebec, there is impressive cinematography highlighting the wilderness of the landscape with its iced over lakes and snow-covered countryside. The soundtrack is quite unusual with squeals, squeaks, whispers and chanting appearing over instrumental tracks.

 

The information provided for the film is that English, French and Anishinaabemowin are spoken. The majority of the film is in French. We are unable to verify whether it is Anishinaabemowin that is spoken or in fact Algonquin (or if it belongs to that family of languages) but we note that reference is made to the main character Mani not speaking Algonquin any more.

 

Bootlegger is a pertinent film about a community grappling with the effects of illegal alcohol supply and questions of autonomy. An interesting view into issues affecting First Nations communities around the world – and one that is just as relevant here – after all Australia had its own controversial “intervention” making indigenous communities in the Northern Territory dry zones.

4 CROISSANTS

 

KEY INFO FOR BOOTLEGGER

WHAT: Bootlegger, a Canadian film

WHERE & WHEN:

2 screenings only at SFF:

9 June 8:45 Dendy Newtown

11 June Palace Central Cinemas

HOW: Buy your tickets to this film via this link:

https://www.sff.org.au/program/browse/bootlegger

 

OTHER SFF CONTENT

Sydney Film Festival 2022: French language films

SFF 2022: 12 multilingual films including French

 

 

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