You and the Night: A surreal orgy that doesn’t leave anyone indifferent
It might seem like the natural thing to do – or not: a young couple who are missing that special spark in their everyday life and who have grown tired of their routine decide to organise an orgy at their house with the help of their transvestite maid.
Yann Gonzalez's feature debut, You and the Night (2013), for which he also wrote the script, sides with the surreal. The orgy takes place in the house of the couple (Kate Moran and Niels Schneider) and their housekeeper (Nicolas Maury), where various stereotypical guests are invited: The Slut (Julie Brémond), The Star (Fabienne Babe), The Stud (Eric Cantona) and The Teen (Alain-Fabien Delon). Béatrice Dalle also makes an appearance as The Commissioner.
The seven guests, bursting with desire, meet up and get along just fine. They mainly tell each other stories, with each revealing his or her scars from the past as they are gathered around a sensory jukebox. Just like this jukebox, which plays a psychedelic mixture of music (composed by the band M83) and coloured lights, the film portrays an equally hallucinogenic and uninhibited mixture of feelings, both sexual and romantic, that ooze from every character and that exceed reasonable boundaries in order to grasp the absurdity of human desire – which becomes, ultimately, the true act of (freaky) love.
Unveiled in the Critics’ Week at Cannes 2013 as a Special Screening, the film was also nominated for the Queer Week in 2013 and was awarded Best Film at the Athens Film Festival and the Milan Film Festival in 2013.
"For me, a film encompasses a whole collection of faces, voices and colours,” explains Gonzalez. “I love this idea of fictions intertwined with one another, with different colours and music, and how this kind of improbable patchwork can be linked together. [...] I grew up with fantastic cinema, horror films, the work of Brian de Palma, Dario Argento and other, even more offbeat things. This cinema, often with a very limited budget, joins up with this idea of belief, which can come out of nearly nothing: the wind, a shadow, an off-camera shot.”
Shot in a single location, almost theatrically, You and the Night is a singular film that doesn’t leave anyone indifferent – neither viewers nor critics – but the praise it has received is significant: "This alternately sensuous and silly pastiche suggests director Yann Gonzalez may be the next Almodovar or Ozon," writes Variety.
If you would like to form your own opinion, the film, which is part of the Unexpected Love Stories collection, is available from 15 July in Denmark, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
13 July 2015, by Cineuropa