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Critics reviews
Despite the Night
Philippe Grandrieux France, 2015
It’s la petite mort in slow motion. A volatile mix of agony and ecstasy that threatens to render both actors and audience unconscious by its final act.
May 13, 2016
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Though Despite the Night takes a relatively measured approach to the brutality, showing without moralising, it is still never able to escape the easy clichés of the images. Grandrieux’s focus on style and aesthetics as separated from politics and meaning here comes across as avoidance of history and of ethics, of the past in which everything becomes not just permissible but neutral.
March 19, 2016
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While Grandrieux’s fourth fiction feature continues his usual investigation into the limits of experience and range of cinematic possibilities, there’s also a strong willingness here to work along a more traditional narrative scheme. Not that Grandrieux has totally softened up. Malgré la Nuit still plays out like a sordid nightmare straight out of Georges Bataille’s imagination.
February 17, 2016
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Oneiric, shadowy, intoxicated with self-destruction and sexual danger, Grandrieux’s films are an abstract-ish acquired taste, and this is no exception: a man, a missing woman, two other self- debasing women with the same name, sexual compulsions that lead to rape, sadism, latex bondage, snuff porn, and murder… A writhing depressive’s Gaspar Noé, Grandrieux is all about the fleshy moments, and here they’re all tinged with doom.
February 16, 2016
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Grandrieux’s experimental films, composed almost exclusively of evocative details and expressionist close-ups, plunge you into a narrative enigma, resulting in a kind of introspective mise en abyme. Malgré la Nuit is a poem that cuts with existential ambiguity and stings with the allure of its sensual, shadowy obscure world. Ambivalent in nature, Malgré la Nuit is not a puzzle to be solved with reason or logic but rather a story to be dazzled by.
February 05, 2016
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Alluring and gut-wrenching by turns, its shadowy world of doubles and ambiguities sees a man called Lenz return to Paris to seek out an old flame he still loves, only to be drawn into other sensual entanglements and a macabre underworld. Its visual experimentation is fresh and endlessly engrossing, even as its sexual politics are contentious.
February 02, 2016
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