Unrated (explicit sex, nudity, very strong language, adult themes); 91 min.
On the surface, Nuit #1, Quebec writer/director Anne Émond's impressive first feature, plays almost like a parody of an arthouse film: It is in French, features explicit sex and is built around two beautifully dissolute people in a grungy little room talking -- and making love.
Dig a little deeper and, thanks to strong performances by Dimitri Storoge and Catherine de Léan, as well as Émond's soul-baring script, Nuit #1 is more than the sum of its parts. Nikolai (Storoge) and Clara (de Léan) meet in a Montreal dance club and head back to his place. She's intent on doing the walk of shame afterward, but he gets her to stay, and what was a one-night stand turns into a marathon session of confessions and accusations.
While that might sound like the stuff of soap opera, it's handled here not with histrionics but with the low-level intensity of real life. It all makes Émond's film radiantly, if often depressingly, alive.
In French with English subtitles.
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