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 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.
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
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