The Passengers of the Night

2022 [FRENCH]


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Charlotte Gainsbourg Photo
Charlotte Gainsbourg as Elisabeth Davies
Emmanuelle Béart Photo
Emmanuelle Béart as Vanda Dorval
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1023.11 MB
French 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 51 min
P/S 18 / 34
2.05 GB
French 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 51 min
P/S 26 / 55

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Horst_In_Translation6 / 10

A train you can hop on, but do not necessarily have to

"Les passagers de la nuit" is a relatively new French film from 2022 and this one runs for 105 minutes and you can add another five minutes if you include credits. With those it is not too far away from the two-hour mark. The writer and director is Mikhaël Hers and while he is the only director, you will find two other co-writers here and Désert and Ameline are both females judging from the names. All three of them have a decent amount of experience when it comes to writing French films in the past and it will probably go on and stay like this for a few more years, If not decades. This film is not a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth and I assume Hers decided to get them on board because the central character in this film is female, so he would get a more female take on things in general here. Said central character is played by Lars von Trier regular Charlotte Gainsbourg. She may be the biggest name attached to the project. I am always strangely fascinated with her and she may be a definite contender for my number-one female crush over 50 out there, although I am not sure if she was 50 already when this film got made and how much time there was between shooting and release, but now she is. In general, this is a film that includes many beautiful women: With Megan Northam, opinions differ I guess, but in terms of Noée Abita it could not be any more obvious. I think she can be one of the rising stars in French film if she isn't already. She has been on a few projects recently. Emmanuelle Béart is also in this film here, so perhaps Gainsbourg does have a contender for most famous cast member. I guess I am not (yet) a big enough expert on French films to recognize Béart immediately before checking out the cast list later on.

The crew includes artists as well that have a fairly successful past. Cinematographer Buchmann for example worked on the 2014 Diana movie and composer Sanko is an Emmy nominee and was also part of the team that worked on the 1990s Tom Hanks film "Philadelphia". Sanko and Buchmann have both received awards attention for their work here and Sanko was the one who received the only César nomination from the movie. These are the big French film awards of course. Both Buchmann and Sanko have also worked on Hers' previous film "Amanda" from 2018, so there has been a break of almost half a decade since his new film and the one before that. Not too quick. Other than that, the film has made some waves in Bulgaria, Spain, Germany and not just in France. Here in my country/city, it was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear, which is always an honor or maybe not. I am not sure if we look at the state the German film industry is in right now where literally every single country with which we share a border is in a better state in terms of quality of new movies. That's what happens when political correctness gets in the way of creativity and you have to make films in a way that they fit the mainstream zeitgeist rather than your own artistic vision because otherwise you won't get any funds. Sad state of affairs, but that is another story. Now let's get back to this film here. There surely can be said a lot about it. It is family drama from beginning to end, even if the drama rarely lies inside the family. The mother is getting along well with her two children and about the father we do not find out too much as he left her right before the movie.

We do see the protagonist's father though and it is a bit sad that the poster shown on imdb and probably elsewhere too is cut off on the right side because in this shot where we have all of them outside during sunrise from what it looks like, the main character's father is sitting on the right as well with everybody else from the group. His relationship with Gainsbourg's character is also never a dramatic issue. More harmony there. I liked the actor and his portrayal. Quietly convincing, even if the material was not great. I think his name is Didier Sandre. The son of the family struggling to find his way in terms of his professional future could have been a bigger issue, but it also isn't really. We understand his mom is there for him when he needs it, but she does not interfere too much. The only exception is how she is really angry when the boy comes home very late one night and you can smell the alcohol and is really wet because he fell into the water and in that scene he was accompanied by Abita's character. That was it. Other than that, after a considerable jump in time we understand that he works at a swimming pool facility then while his sister has aspirations in politics apparently, but this is also just implies. We do find out more about the main character's love life, how she is heartbroken after being left by the father of the children, how she has a sexual encounter with a colleague that does not result in anything beyond that though because he does not want to and finally she meets a new, younger man and this seems to be fairly harmonic. The one conflict there about her initially not wanting to come to his place was nothing severe, but she opens up a little bit more there as well. This fits with her father's comments about how she has a bit of an invisible wall built up as well to protect her and this is especially what she criticizes about her son, so the two may not be entirely different. Same is maybe true for the daughter as we see towards the end when mother and son realize on their way back home that she did not mention to either of them if she has a boyfriend.

The work component is also a factor in this film: Gainsbourg's character is surely not one for the office as she forgot to press "Save" on an important file, so her new job at the beginning of the film is quickly gone as well. Eventually, she ends up at a late-night phone talk show that apparently mostly truck drivers listen to. There she is in charge of deciding which callers are allowed to get into the show and there was a moment when she let some creep in, but well it happened before and nobody can be blamed, even if Béart's character is really mad initially. But she herself knows as well that it was not Gainsbourg's character's fault and towards the end of the movie we even see how Gainsbourg's character fills in for Béart's on one occasion when the latter is absent, so the protagonist hosts the show which means that she made professional progress as well, even if she probably would not need the job financially anymore as she was also working at a library, so she had a second job and there she also met her younger lover. Okay, this inclusion was not too necessary I would say, but it wasn't terrible either, rather meant to show us how Gainsbourg (and not her character) can have younger men anytime. As for Béart, she was really only included in the late show segments. Something like "Domian" in Germany maybe, only that his show was also on television, not only on the radio. The moment early on when the host asks the protagonist if she wants a drink too and there they drink whiskey and not water was one of the film's funniest moments, even if other viewers during my screening recognized it more quickly than myself. The funniest moments for me were how the son's best friend in his one and only scene was drooling so much over Abita's character. Hilarious stuff! Everything about it and what he said about the towel there too. I guess with the comments he made about another female before that, it also could not have happened in German movies because he would have been an evil sexist and could not have been a likable character then. Well, I thought he was so funny. Nice inclusion.

The relationship between the son and Abita's character is maybe among the film's biggest drama, especially with the revelation towards the end, which could not really surprise anybody that he was in love with her, so she moves on because he asks her to in a way, but then again she has always been on the restless side. Additional drama with her perhaps dying or a fight between life and death was not included and that was good. Would have been mostly fake drama I believe. It was good the way it ended I think, even if I am undecided if the final shot that you see on the poster and that I talked about earlier is also chronologically from the ending because it would have meant Abita's character returned and potentially even entered into a romantic relationship with the son. We cannot say for sure. The suspicion to this film is one of its strengths, the atmosphere as a whole and this is also what the composer and cinematographer I talked about earlier contributed a lot to turn it into the film that it became. I applaud them for it and also everybody else who was part of this. I have to dig deep for flaws here. Maybe the voice-over from the beginning and end linked to the concept of being passengers of the night as mentioned in the title felt a bit forced and pretentious. I could have done without it. Still, the good is far more frequent. Abita's character is probably one of the most desirable of 2022 and it's incredibly hard to accept when she tells you she isn't the right one for you. Aside from that, I also liked how cinema is depicted in here as the young folks love movies and I also adored the old song that everybody was dancing to on the occasion of a family tradition. Well family +1, but at that point Abita's character had already been accepted into their inner circle of course. On my MP3 player the song went. "The Passengers of the Night" is surely worth seeing and the thumbs-up and positive recommendation from my side were never in doubt at all. Go give it a chance unless you really despise French films. Admittedly, then it is not a film that will change your perception. It does feel fairly French, but in a good way. I was also surprised by how full the room was during my screening and it wasn't even the weekend plus the film had been on for weeks already. Good for the movie though and not undeserving.

Reviewed by ayoreinf7 / 10

Great acting, but too little of every thing else

At least three very good acting performances in a story that says too little. We've got Charlotte Gainsbourg in a very mature and nuanced performance as Elisabeth Davis a single mom with two teenage kids trying to survive a painful separation and finding an unexpected support from a radio night broadcast. Where she also finds a lost soul called Talulah, played superbly by Noee Abita. She offers Talulah a place in her apartment. What we get afterward is the story of the Davis family and their interaction with Talulah over a few years this could very easily be a Hollywood movie with all the expected preachiness and morals we often get there - it doesn't go there and for that fact I'm grateful. But it doesn't go anywhere else. We simply get to see Elisabeth, her two kids (mainly Quito Rayon Richter as her son Mathias - showing a lot of promise) and Talulah who pops in and out of their lives until she disappears.

It looks like the director Mikhael Hers and his script writers had a story but didn't have a point to make. This would be a nice pilot for a TV drama series but as a stand alone movie - it doesn't stand alone and it's a shame because, as I said already we do get at least three very good acting performances that deserved better.

Reviewed by kino_avantgarde7 / 10

Life is life? Or?

"Les Passagers de la Nuit", being Mikhaël Hers' fourth feature, premiered in the prestigious competition of the Berlin International Film Festival.

The main point of the movie lies in Éric Rohmer's "Les Nuits de la Pleine Lune" referenced in the theater, that the free-spirited characters should not be criticized, but only to be observed, or possibly emphathised. Not only Hers praises the cinema through their character's words, he also tributes French cinema with the other references of Jacques Rivette's Le Pont du Nord (1981) and Claire Denis's Jacques Rivette le Veilleur (1990). The characters are unexpectedly mesmerized when they accidentally find themselves in a theater showing Les Nuits de la Pleine Lune instead of what they had planned to see.

The movie does not have any political concern having shown François Mitterrand's election as the French President in 1981 or by the innocent political actions of Judith (the daughter of the house),rather it displays the optimist vibe of the French left-wing society at the time. But wait, what makes the director choice shifting its films between 8mm, 16mm and 35mm, using of the filters and including some footage back then? A simple yearning or his individual memories and experiences? Editing these grainy images together with the digital ones drifts the audience between an alienation effect or the overpraise of nostalgia.

The biggest hit that keeps the movie worth seeing is the acting skills of the main characters. While the characters emotionally experience the existential pains of their own little worlds, they carefully avoid big words and it's us the audiance left with the choice to feel sympathy for them in this unpretentious melodrama. We very often see Elizabeth stuck in the framed big windows, in the radio building or in her home in the suburb of Paris. Also Talulah, who choose to live only in the present, has already attracted the audience with her free spirit.

Yet we are left with only the anti-heroes who are the passengers of the nights in Paris in the end. Les Passagers de la Nuit is a production that cannot reach the level of the films it's refering to and cannot claim any further than being a modest or weak melodrama.

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