Monday, 13 February 2017


Bertrand Bonello is the insider looking out, the fully-fledged member of the bourgeoisie thumbing his nose at his fellow bourgeois artists and their audiences, exploiting their tools and tropes in the creation of wilfully incendiary art of his own. His is a blatantly, intentionally contradictory stance, exemplified as never before in Nocturama, a sympathetic story of a fellow band of insiders looking out, neither harbouring nor, arguably, warranting any sympathy themselves. Bonello seeks not responses but reactions, dispassionately examining the details of his scenario with a deliberate protection against any judgemental inference; his clinical mise-en-scene is designed to accent the nature of each component therein, rather than that of the bigger picture, ever only vague and imprecise. Nocturama thus becomes a most subjective cinematic experience, predicated as it is upon sincere, individual emotional reception and not a more reasonable intellectual one; it's interesting, thus, to identify exactly what one can infer from the film, since its very practice of rebuffing inference inherently, ironically produces it. Bonello's take on the disenfranchisement of the privileged (and less privileged) youth is distinctly French in its disposition, though universally understandable, and the compassion he directs toward his film's ensemble of characters is a valuable addition to the prickly debates on the subjects explored herein. What is even more distinctly French, though, is Nocturama's style, and its abundance of it - your feelings on the content of Bonello's conceit aside, you can always rely on this insider to use his bourgeois abilities to their best, and this is a typically excellent technical and formal enterprise from this most audacious and provocative artist.