Nuit #1


First-time feature director Anne Émond’s Nuit #1 lingers on the combination of hunger and awkwardness that attends the best one-nighters, showing the unsexy details that most movies elide: interruptions for bathroom breaks, fumbling for condoms, the clumsy logistics of sharing a shower. After meeting at a rave, Clara (Catherine de Léan) and Nikolai (Dimitri Storoge) do sex for something like the first 15 minutes of the film; when Nikolai wakes up and catches her leaving his apartment, he commences with the impassioned speechifying that constitutes the rest of it. Clara is promiscuous and warm and suffers from insomnia; Nikolai is withdrawn, antisocial, and unmotivated—all gender-specific behavioral symptoms of toxoplasmosis! That’s just a coincidence, because they’re also symptoms of depression, and the pair details over the night their strategies to ease their psychic pain. Third-grade teacher Clara has a secret life of drugs and sex. Nikolai, too lazy to work on his art, wastes his days masturbating to Web porn. Both are deliberately alienated from their friends and sex partners—her m.o. is to walk away; his is to push—but the two are superhumanly good listeners, though such pretty people are easy to pay attention to. De Léan is particularly affecting in a climactic breakdown in which Clara reveals exactly what she needs and presumably never had, rendering loneliness into poetry. The title suggests perhaps there will be a night number two, allaying some of the conclusion’s ambiguities, but maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Clara and Nikolai to get tested for elevated T. gondii levels and stay away from cat poop. Chris Packham

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