You And The Night is one of those movies where viewers are likely to have extremely different reactions to it. I can easily imagine that some will absolutely adore it and it’ll become one of their favourite movies, other will find the whole thing too strange, pretentious and perhaps even boring, while some will appreciate it while also being slightly nonplussed. I fit into the latter camp.
A couple, Matthias (Niels Schneider) and Ali (Kate Moran), along with their transvestite maid Udo (Nicolas Maury), are getting ready for a night of debauchery. They have invited guests who go by unusual names such as The Slut, The Star, The Stud and The Teen. However it doesn’t turn out to be the orgy that was expected, as each person arrives with their own story, secrets and desires which they tell to the others and which we see in stylised flashback.
It is a strange and surreal movie. None of the characters are quite real or particularly fake – they are both people and also characteristics – and they exist in a kind of limbo, partway between reality and fiction. Matthias and Ali are almost fairytale figures – but a dark, sexual fairytale – Udo may be far more than a maid, and each of the other characters isn’t quite what they seem, hiding sexual fantasies, ideas and experiences that go beyond what society would deem acceptable.
The film never gets to a point where it suddenly becomes clear what’s going on, instead being deliberately strange and elusive, forcing the viewer to consider what they’re seeing and where they are in this fantastical, sexual and unique place. It is a weird and rather intriguing netherworld where gay, straight and bisexual don’t really exist, with each of the characters being essentially pansexual. There’s a sense that the whole thing could be taking place inside the mind – perhaps the collective mind – a place where the things we cannot say out loud become real, from the ridiculously chivalric to the totally fetishistic. That’s not too surprising as the movie is deliberately surreal – not random, but genuinely surreal, with the psychological undertones that implies.
It is an interesting, strange and sensual movie but it’s also a rather frustrating one. It’s so determined to elude classification and simple understanding that it verges into being over-constructed, self-satisfied and making you wonder whether the whole thing is smoke and mirrors with little underneath. But it certainly keeps you watching and wondering about its anarchic weirdness and the idea of turning what is essentially a chamber drama into a polysexual festival of the surreal is undoubtedly fascinating, even if it’s not wholly satisfying.
However if you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if a transvestite maid was gently fondling Eric Cantona’s enormous (and undoubtedly prosthetic) penis, or whether it’s possible to present the incestuous as oddly romantic, this is the film for you.
Overall Verdict: A strange, surreal and unusual movie, which promises an orgy and delivers something rather different. Some will adore it but personally I was more intrigued than impressed.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac