If you listened closely enough to the festival circuit last fall, you might’ve heard the buzz for Bertrand Bonello‘s “Nocturama.” Sight & Sound certainly paid attention, naming the picture as one of their Best Of 2016, while we cited it as one of The 20 Best Movies Of 2017 That We’ve Already Seen. Needless to say, it’s one to put on your arthouse must-see list.
Starring Finnegan Oldfield, Laure Valentinelli, Hamza Meziani, Manal Issa, and Robin Goldbronn, the provocative picture follows a group of teenagers as they unfold a series of terrorist attacks across Paris, and try to evade capture by the authorities. It’s a “powerfully made piece of work,” and one deeply resonant for our current times. Here’s the official synopsis:
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 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Metrograph in New York City, with national dates to follow. [The Film Stage]