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1 item from 1992


'Night and Day'

10 December 1992 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman's ''Night and Day'' is as contradictory as its title suggests. It's insightful yet redundant; beautiful yet excessive; short in length yet endless within each scene.

Akerman is indeed a provocative filmmaker, admirably uninterested in mass appeal. ''Night and Day'' should keep her esoteric fans happy, both by its trademark unusual style and by the fact that Akerman will still remain their prized secret.

Making its American theatrical premiere at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, ''Night and Day'' will keep only the artiest of viewers entranced. For the most part, it's like watching a boring coed tennis match where the players are naked. After 20 uneventful volleys, you're hoping for a break in the monotony, but you still can't take your eyes off the game or the players.

The film concerns itself with the physical and existential qualities of love, loving and lovers. With a clear nod to Truffaut's ''Jules and Jim, '' Akerman here gives us Jack (Thomas Langmann) and Joseph (Francois Negret), two cab drivers both in love with the sensual Julie (Guilaine Londez).

The innocent opening sequence belies the complex emotions that follow. We find Jack and Julie in bed, and very much in love. They talk quixotically of love and their obviously idyllic relationship. Neither sleeps, because that would mean moments away from the other. Within the confines of their apartment, it seems like they never go out. Jack suggests that maybe they should meet people, but Julie answers, ''Maybe next year.''

In truth, they do leave the apartment, but only when Jack goes to work. They make love all day, then at night, while Jack drives his cab, Julie walks the streets of Paris. Nice life!

Then one night, Jack's alter-ego cab driver, Joseph, drops the taxi off for Jack, and ends up joining Julie on her nightly sojourn. Julie has guilt-free sex with Joseph. Her unburdened spirit allows her to love both men equally, yet each of these two less mature males wants her solely for himself.

Once this scenario is set, Akerman takes us through the same emotional maze over and over again until we're quite tired of this love triangle and all of its sides. Though Akerman uses her camera like a painter's brush, lovingly caressing Julie and her men, there is an excess of meandering dialogue that is annoyingly distracting. Making her film debut, Londez captivates us with her sexual electricity and innocent charm. Even as we become disenchanted, her magnetism holds us in place.

Though physically different -- Negret looks like a cross section of Fisher Stevens, Michael J. Fox and Willem Dafoe, while Langmann is simply nondescriptly handsome -- the characters they play are two sides of the same coin. As one whole character, they are effective.

''Night and Day'' has its memorable moments, but they all seem to be the same one.

NIGHT AND DAY

International Film Circuit Inc.

Director Chantal Akerman

Writers Chantal Akerman, Pascal Bonitzer

Editors Francine Sandberg, Camille Bordes-Resnais

Original music Marc Herouet

Producers Pierre Wallon, Marilyn Watelet

Color

In French with subtitles

Cast:

Julie Guilaine Londez

Jack Thomas Langmann

Joseph Francois Negret

Running time -- 90 minutes

No MPAA Rating

(c) The Hollywood Reporter

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1 item from 1992


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