HKIFF Review: Night Across the Street / La noche de enfrente 夜夢三巡 (2012) – Chile

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 25th March 2013

Directed by: Raúl Ruiz
Starring: Christian Vadim, Sergio Hernández, Valentina Vargas, Chamila Rodríguez, Valentina Muhr, Pedro Vicuña, Cristián Gajardo, Santiago Figueroa, Pedro Villagra, José Luis López

Reviewed as part of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013

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What can I say? “Night Across the Street” is one of those movies where you have to totally suspend every corner of your beliefs and just accept whatever is being thrown at you. It is like a dream that hardly made any sense, the words that comes out of their mouth are often incoherent and disjointed and people randomly appears and disappear next to no reason. In some ways, it seems like a Tarantino film, but it is really not as even the former auteur is more logical. So it is almost difficult to say whether “Night Across the Street” is good cinema or not, but it is definitely an illuminating experience.

Sergio Hernández is the star of the show, provides the film with a constant presence and in fact almost everything evolve around him. Not unlike Woody Allen walking around in his own film, the film mixes up between reality and fiction and often becomes illusionary. The kid (Santiago Figueroa) who plays a younger Don Celso or even a slight figure of imagination flairs extremely well as the know it all “wizz-kid”. I am not entirely sure of his role in the film, but it certainly provide the film with plenty of random laughs and moments. Other actors appears here and there, probably just as random and meaningless as the film itself. Not that it is necessary a bad thing.

All in all, “Night Across the Street” is by no means a bad film, but it requires the audience to invest a lot and while they may not get much out of it in the process. Being the late legendary director Raúl Ruiz’s final film, there are echoes within the work of life and death that seems to parallel, his own last visions. The film is deliberately incoherent, illogical and totally misunderstood, but it somehow manages to work on a different level. It does tries to express a number of messages, but never stand still on just one issue or thought. Still, “Night Across the Street” has its moments, even if it is not entirely successful. (Neo 2013, Reviewed as part of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013)

I rated it 6.75/10

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