Film Review: WHITE NIGHT (Nuit Blanche) (Canada 2017) ***

White Night Poster
Set in the sleepless night of Nuit Blanche, White Night follows five different stories of people as they weave their way through various art installations tackling the issues of, love, losses, and the inevitability of getting old.

Directors:  Sonny AtkinsP.H. Bergeron (as Philippe H. Bergeron)


NUIT BLANCHE (Translated: White Night; originating from Paris and Nantes – an all night arts festival), the film traces a night in Toronto in fall beginning at sunset and going on till the early hours of dawn the next morning, where attendees can see, free of charge, art installations of various forms around the city centre.  A guide is available for choice picking.  Or one can do the random thing.  The art on display includes everything from film (like old films with piano accompaniment or French serial comedies) to paintings to music.  One can attend en seul or in a group.  In my experience it is best to decide what to visit before venturing out.  WHITE NIGHT the movie is based on this Toronto event. The film opens with a song with lyrics asking what the special night means to anyone.  It also comes with a forewarning of the unexpected and to expect the unexpected.

Set in the sleepless night of Nuit Blanche, White Night follows six different stories of people in transition. As they weave their way through various art installations they are forced to tackle the issues of, love, loss, aging, and the ever important question; is it art?

Emily is an artist. She has an installation. But does she have anything to say?  She is shown at the start of the film lugging her boxes, assuming containing her installation, to the right while the camera pans to the left.  Frank, a lawyer (with an uncanny resemblance to Ben Affleck) who initially is working late on unit blanche, he just fired. So he decides to take up a career in crime fighting. Violet and Sully are long time friends. Once young punk rockers fighting to take down the man they now face the idea of growing up.  Melanie needed change. So she uprooted her life in Quebec to start anew in Toronto. The language barrier is proving to be more difficult than she imagined.  Stacey likes to help people. While everybody else is transfixed by art she is out to find people in need.  Riley lives to capture life on his camera. He hides behind what he sees in everyone else.  The film intercuts the multiple stories in chronological order of the night as it transgresses, rather than playing them one after another.  It is not a new cinema concept but it is a suitable one for the subject.

Riley especially when on mushrooms is the funniest character.  Violet and Sully are the most boring, pretentious representing the worst of the art exhibits that are often on display.  No one wants to watch prissy, self-centred, unfunny, pretentious, people who do nothing that talk about themselves.   Characters also meet – like Riley and Emily.

The best thing about the film is the varied soundtrack from Stephen Joffe, Birds of Bellwoods and Beams also consisting of live performances.

The film has a one week (right after the 2017 Toronto event on September 30) limited engagement at the Carlton Cinemas, Toronto.  With a look! 



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