Passengers of the night |  Delicious spleen ★★★½

Passengers of the night | Delicious spleen ★★★½

During the 1980s, marked in France by the rise to power of François Mitterrand, a woman who had just been left by her husband tried to rebuild herself with her two teenage children, as well as a young idle woman whom she takes under his wing.

Posted yesterday at 11:00 a.m.

Marc-Andre Lussier

Marc-Andre Lussier
The Press

The statement found in passengers of the night is much more intimate than political, but the narrative of the new feature film by Mikhaël Hers (Amanda) nevertheless began on May 10, 1981, when the party descended on the streets of Paris to mark the victory of François Mitterrand as president and the arrival of the left in power.

A film of atmospheres. This is above all what this chronicle is, crossed from beginning to end by a delicious spleen and a comforting melancholy, even if it may seem contradictory at first sight.

In this opus whose screenplay is co-written by Maud Ameline, who had also collaborated on the screenplay ofAmanda, the story is divided into three chapters, the plot taking place in 1981, 1984 and 1988. Charlotte Gainsbourg embodies Elisabeth, a woman who has to live through a difficult sentence after a breakup. The latter finds herself leading a household of two teenagers (Quito Rayon-Richter and Megan Northam) on her own.

Financial resources not being glorious, Elisabeth tries to regain the job market and goes first to a night radio host (Emmanuelle Béart) to whom she wrote. This meeting initiates a kind of turning point, insofar as, hired to receive calls from listeners, she spontaneously decides to offer refuge to a young homeless woman (Noée Abita) who has come to confide in the microphone of the host.

That said, it’s not so much the details of the plot that captivate, but rather the way that Mikhaël Hers has to tell them, very gently. It also evokes a kind of warmth in family relationships, beautiful to see, which contrasts sharply with the expected illustrations of crisis situations. We also feel a clear desire to move away from clichés, especially with this character of a rebellious teenager who fled a difficult environment. Charlotte Gainsbourg radiates this film where the state of mind of the 1980s is also well evoked, without resorting to the obvious.

Launched earlier this year at the Berlin festival, during which a first version of this text was published, passengers of the night is currently showing.

passengers of the night


passengers of the night

Mikhaël Hers

With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Noée Abita, Emmanuelle Béart

1:51 a.m.


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