A NOCTURNE (2007, Bill Mousoulis, A++++++++++)
MUNDANE DAYS, MUNDANE NIGHTS
A NOCTURNE is a vampire film like no other vampire films I have ever seen (but I haven’t seen THE ADDICTION). I think A NOCTURNE is very thought-provoking (at least as thought-provoking as TROUBLE EVERY DAY), and there is a philosophical level or a metaphorical level in this film which I can’t understand. I’m not sure what vampires in this film stand for. Nevertheless, there are many things I like in this film, including:-
1.Its strong atmosphere—the darkness, the light, the shadow, the rooms which are quite empty. I especially like the scene in which we see a character sits in front of a large bare white wall. The feeling of emptiness is quite strong. The film is not as strongly atmospheric as Philippe Grandrieux’ films. But the atmosphere in A NOCTURNE is very effective in its own way. I think A NOCTURNE doesn’t try to create “extremely beautiful images”. Maybe A NOCTURNE doesn’t try to make the darkness appear too seductive. Maybe A NOCTURNE wants to make the darkness look beautiful, seductive, and mundane at the same time.
2.The pianist character. I don’t know what this character stands for. I have no knowledge about classical music. But this character accidentally makes me think about my life as a film lover. Seeing a great film like A NOCTURNE or listening to a good music gives me “a temporary escape” from my mundane life. I like it very much that we see this pianist character at the beginning and at the end of the film. I like it very much that we see this character hesitate before she walks into the daylight in the outside world. I don’t know what these scenes stand for. But it accidentally makes me think about myself. The hesitation this character has just reminds me of my own feelings when a film festival ends. After a film festival ends, I always feel sad and hesitate to return to my daily routine life. But I still have to return to my daily routine life to make a living. It’s a sad fact of life. The classical song this pianist plays reminds me of “the enjoyment” I gain from art or from film festivals. The bright world the pianist walks into at the end of the film reminds me of my daily boring routine life.
3.That brings me to a question—should I “forever” escape from my daily boring routine life? Maybe not. Especially after seeing the lives of these vampires in A NOCTURNE. I don’t know what these vampires stand for, but they accidentally make me feel that sometimes when you escape from a kind of boring life, you may end up in another kind of boring life. The life of the ultimate pleasure, the life in which you totally abandon the society, may give you extreme pleasure “for a while”. After that, boredom may sets in again, especially when you can’t escape forever from the society, but have to depend a little from the society you may hate. There are some old photographs shown in this film, which make me think that these vampires are like a kind of weird, rebellious artists who have existed for the last hundred years. I mean the kind of artists who may make porn photographs a hundred years ago, make lesbian vampire films in the 1970’s, or make graffiti art today.
4.I like the scene in which someone who looks like “a businessman” murders a character, and we can also see the word “muliticutural advertising marketing” before the murder. After the murder, we can also see the words “private property, fuck off” and “television advertising”. I’m not sure what they mean. Does this scene mean a businessman can kill the soul of a rebellious artist?
5. I like the multicultural characters in this film. The couple vampires in this film seem to have French ancestry. They also give eternal life to a Vietnamese girl who is keen on drawing. There is also a character who looks like a werewolf and may speak German. These characters accidentally remind me of the art crowd.
6.I like the contrast between the beautiful classical music and the heavy-metal music at the beginning of the film. It accidentally reminds me of the beginning of FUNNY GAMES (Michael Haneke), though I think this use of music carries a different meaning in A NOCTURNE. The heavy-metal music is used in A NOCTURNE when we see the images of mundane life in the daylight.
7.I also like the mundane daytime city scene near the end of A NOCTURNE very much. In a way, it accidentally reminds me of the ending of THE ECLIPSE (Michelangelo Antonioni), though it may look like the opposite of each other. The scene in A NOCTURNE is full of people, while the scene in THE ECLIPSE is almost devoid of people. But both scenes give me the feelings of loneliness, alienation, and boredom of life.
8.I like the use of sound in this film very much, especially in an early scene in which the couple vampires hear some construction sound outside their room, or in a scene in which they hear something like a howling far away (if I remember it correctly), and in a late scene in which we hear something like the mundane sound of an air-conditioner after the pianist finishes playing the classical music.
9.I like the various minor characters in the film, including someone who look like a zombie outside a mini-mart, a handsome vampire who preys on a lonely woman, a cannibal who is obsessed with his dead lover, a man who looks like a German-speaking werewolf and seems to be afraid of himself, a French woman who looks like a witch, a middle-class woman who is attacked by the vampire, and a lonely girl who is seduced by the vampire (or maybe by an alternative lifestyle).
10. I like the editing in some scenes very much, especially the scene in which the Vietnamese woman draws some images and suddenly sees a woman in black in her room. After they talk for a while, suddenly the film jumps to a scene in which the two women fight against each other.
11. Some images are forever etched into my memory, and I don’t know why. Especially the image of a blood-stained nail at the minute 22 in the film, and the image of the vampire hero standing at the back of the vampire heroine, who is sitting on a chair, at the minute 23 in the film. It is strangely beautiful.
A scene from A NOCTURNE:
You can read the review of A NOCTURNE by Taliesin here:
You can buy this film here: