Nocturama (Dir. Bertrand Bonello)
Date: August 18, 2017
Location: Downtown Independent
Address: 251 S. Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Exclusive Los Angeles theatrical presentation!
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. (Grasshopper)
A bravura feat of filmmaking.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.V. Club
Audacious... noteworthy for eschewing the usual moralism that pervades most films determined to condemn terrorism.
Richard Porton, Cineaste
Nocturama deals with terrorism through a very well-thought-out maze of smoke and mirrors. It’s problematic on purpose, not intended as a portrait of real-world terrorists but an allegory of nihilism and decadence.
Howard Hampton, Film Comment
Nocturama is many things. Initially pitched as an action film, it turns out that Bonello’s latest has more in line with action painting, slathering onto its broad canvas an all-over mélange of genre iconography, pop appropriations, and historical reference points, and navigating through it all with impulsive shifts in attitude.
Blake Williams, Cinema Scope
Nocturama’s contemporaneity is a byway to its tragic classicism... the obfuscation of cinematic pleasure and political rigor is [the film's] concurrent fault line, whereby the demolition of barriers between so-called high and low cultures is a signal boost for a post-capitalist utopia one suspects will not really be waiting outside when the mall reopens.
Steve Macfarlane, The Brooklyn Rail