NUIT #1, from Canadian director Anne Emond, delves, deep and fast, into contemporary sexual encounters searching beyond the momentary pleasures of quick fix sex into the possibilities of permanency.
Starring the award winning French-Canadian talent Catherine de Lean as Clara and Dimitro Storoge as Nicolai, the two embody their characters each stepping out of the prescribed societal gender roles and becoming, emotionally, the opposite.
A modernized and French-Canadian “LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR,” NUIT #1, or Night #1, begins at a European type underground dance club, crowds of sweaty bodies, attached, unattached swept away and filled, enveloped, by the pulsating throbbing beat.
The two, Clara and Nicolai, somehow meet and with little exchange of information they return to Nicolai's apartment for a Parisian style one night stand. Inhabited by the leftover pounding beat, the two engage in torrid, no strings, no promises, no tomorrow, barely know your name, ecstasy fueled, and extremely intimate sex. The sexual scenes are not implied nor are they abbreviated. They contain total female and male, full frontal, fully exposed, full response, nudity.
Granted the film begins with a fevered pitch and with that can only come down. After the first five minutes, the rest of the film, like sex, is either the awkward pause of, ‘was that it?’, or the standard argument sleeping verses cuddling or emotional sharing.
And that is how NUIT #1 plays out, the two end up going through the cycle of after sex emotions; the only intimacy left, at this point, is the revelation of personal details which seems almost mute in light of the level of intimate sexual activity. The requisite cigarette, shared, becomes the wick to a powder keg as both have essentially had it with one night stands, with nameless, faceless strangers, aloneness and loneliness. As the emotions boil over, with each crossing into the way too much information zone, and with the sex over, the two seemed almost awkwardly inhibited, shy, hiding, covering their nakedness.
A starving artist, who romanticizes poverty Nicolai, reiterates the long version of their sexual encounter; and the vision he has of their future together. A monologue, one can envision him practicing to the walls as his self imposed celibacy has been his drug. He assumes the feminine role, fantasying of a future long before the dawn has crept in through the dingy window casting shadows on the floor mattress.
She, Clara, is the stereotypical “sowing ones wild oats” male, building a string of notches on her proverbial belt. This one, this encounter, was someone she wanted to remember. When she begins to reveal herself, her story became the analogy of a generation lost and unable to find anything of value in life. Looking for fulfillment in empty, meaningless relationships, digging deeper into sexual deviance and still with the multiple partners, and multiple partners with multiple partners still no sexual fulfillment; no sense of self, of possibility, of potential, of hope.
NUIT #1 has been, over the past two years, seen in two dozen international film festivals from Taiwan to Toronto, Palm Springs to Pau France. NUIT #1 has won numerous international awards including three nominations for Best Film, Best Direction and Best Actress at the 14th Jutra Awards at Montreal, Quebec; the Claude Jutra Awards, 32nd Genie Awards, Toronto Ontario, Pyrenee for Best Actress, 2nd International Film Festival in Pau, France, Innovation Award, Daniel Langolis, the 40th Festival of New Cinema, 2011, Best Canadian Feature Film, 30th Vancouver International Film Festival, 2011, Special Jury Mention, 36th Toronto International Film Festival, 2011, and Grand Jury Prize, 28th International Festival of Francophone Film, Tubingen, Germany 2011.
Personally, NUIT #1 has DVD home entertainment market potential or possibly playing at avant-garde cinemas. The steamy, impulsive, aggressive sex deems it inappropriate for some and depending on your level of voyeuristic tolerance; one may not be comfortable in an audience setting.
NUIT #1 is in French with English subtitles and is playing in select cities. Check your local listings.