Tuesday, 18 October 2016

LFF 2016 REVIEW - LA NOCHE (EDGARDO CASTRO)


Edgardo Castro dives head-first, deep into the depraved solitude that is a life on society's outskirts, yet in its physical centre. In documenting existence in its mundane, monotonous hopelessness, and in doing so with unflinching candour, Castro's La Noche is a valuable exercise for the new director, and a tender work of art with a singular vision. But its mundanity is altogether too oppressive, and its commentary upon it barely developed; yes, we see this existence, but what of it? Am I desensitized by so many films of a similarly graphic nature? Am I unmoved by the simple depiction of a culture with which I'm already familiar? Or is La Noche just a hollow, albeit noble, piece of cinema? Castro strives for utmost honesty, and indeed he achieves it, though seemingly expending all of his artistic energy on its creation - the tenor of individual moments is vivid and immediate, the intimacy of the camera work ever heightening the intensity. The navigation of a procession of sexual encounters, their varying physical and emotional characters skilfully mapped, form the majority of La Noche's narrative concerns, though it's often in its non-sexual, even daylight-set scenes that the film makes its strongest impressions, the fluid editing turning downtime into comedown time. Yet the opacity of Castro's psychological inquiries stymies the film from making the kind of meaningful statements it readily could have made, stranding this virtuous portrait of society's outcasts in a shallow sea of simplicity.