The hyper-realistic argentine feature La Noche (2016) directed by Edgardo Castro shows the particular life of the main character Martin who finds his pleasure through drugs, alcohol, and sex.
The movie invites the audience to Martin’s personal life through the constant close-ups and explicit shots of what is happening, especially during the sex scenes. La Noche represents some people’s realities without any fears of taboos. It shows real life the way it is, even in its most private moments.
One of the biggest strengths in the scenes is its lighting. The constant presence of neons creates an aesthetically pleasing representation of the nocturne life in bars and clubs and adds a new dimension to the lust felt by the characters. The lighting influences the way the scenes are perceived by the audience by creating a new point of view. For example, in one scene that takes place in a club, during an orgy, the lighting creates silhouettes of the bodies where even though it is very explicit and the viewer knows what is happening, it is just a mess of bodies and shadows. It gives the audience its own perspective of sex as if they were part of that moment.
There is a consistent presence of close-ups of bodies, which is a topic very addressed by the new generation of filmmakers. The contact between bodies is the closest people get to a person, so being able to show this on the screen creates a new level of intimacy and it is the window to show the audience the feeling of the characters.
Besides all the aesthetic options of the movie and its technical aspects, the plot itself is also very intriguing. Martin is a character very lonely who tries to fight this by surrounding himself with his sexual experiences. Throughout the feature, Martin has several encounters with a transsexual character named Guadalupe. This character seems important, considering the audience also has a sneak peek into her life and routine. Additionally, the first time Martin’s daily life is shown, he is shopping with Guadalupe.
Despite this, the mystery around this character’s importance is only revealed in the last scene. Before, the audience was left to think that this was just a regular acquaintance he had sexual experiences with and a possible friendship considering they shopped together and had lunch once. However, in the ending scene, they are having dinner together and Martin offers her a gift. At that moment, the audience is left with the option that they might as well have more intense feelings for each other, such as love.
La Noche profoundly approaches gender ambiguity. There is a scene where Martin is in a room with another character that talks about his wife and children. At first, it is very confusing because this character lives his life as a straight person, yet he feels aroused by Martin. It is clear though when he says he does not feel attracted to a gender but instead he feels attracted by situations. This character represents this ambiguity of the complexity of genders.
Edgardo Castro has an extraordinary and courageous approach to sexuality. This movie stands out from other movies about the same topic by its faithful representation of life without worrying about shocking the audience with the explicit images.