'Nocturama'




I really liked Bertrand Bonello's "Nocturama." It carefully treaded that thin line between the political and exploitative. My colleagues in France have had a much more divisive and anger-ridden response to the film.

Hyper-realized, the film can sometimes make the viewer a little uneasy, especially in its finale, which refuses to condemn the actions of the film's terrorists. The visually masterful film, think Jacques Rivette, seems to take sides with the marxist terrorists at the forefront of the story, even though Bonnello has been quite outspoken about his film NOT being political.  "Nocturama" seems to be saying that these are not really terrorists, but "troubled youth" that have been hampered down by a flawed social and economical system. Yes, the ending is ideologically dubious, which is what has irritated French critics the most. Bonnello has talent, his views are complex and the film also raises interesting questions. He should be taken seriously and I'm looking forward to the response from American critics.


"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."
“Nocturama” opens on August 11th in New York City.
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