Palm Springs Review: ‘A Twelve-Year Night’

  • Variety
Palm Springs Review: ‘A Twelve-Year Night’
Writing of 1939’s James Cagney-George Raft big-house melodrama “Each Dawn I Die,” late film historian David Shipman said, “The title presumably referred to prison life, and suggested gloom and tragedy. But the way they played it, it was rather a thrill a second.”

There’s something of a similar disconnect to “A Twelve-Year Night,” Uruguay’s Oscar submission feature. Though decidedly non-pulp, this fact-based tale of three political agitators’ long solitary confinement under military dictatorship is given such bravura cinematic treatment that exciting technique almost overwhelms communicating the titular experience of grueling, punitive isolation. Nonetheless, it’s an impressive work that further confirms writer-director Alvaro Brechner as one of the leading South American screen talents to emerge in the last decade.

Seen as an active threat to recently installed military rule, particularly after it moved from nonviolent protest to kidnappings and assassinations, the Tupamaros Revolutionary Movement (or Mln-t) was vigorously
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