Leave the night | Anything but Manichean

A woman trapped at night in her attacker’s car pretends to call her sister. Instead, she contacts the police and manages to make her interlocutor understand through coded language that she is in danger. The man is arrested. The legal process begins.

Complex and subtle, raw and charged with emotion, Leave the nightby Belgian-Québécois Delphine Girard, is an anxiety-provoking psychological drama, anything but Manichean, which addresses the theme of violence against women.

This is an extension of Delphine Girard’s previous film, A sister, finalist at the Oscars in 2020 in the category of best short fiction film. The first 15 minutes of the feature film are actually those of the short film. Leave the night features the same main trio of actors, Veerle Baetens, Selma Alaoui and Guillaume Duhesme, to which Quebecois Anne Dorval is added.

Aly (Selma Alaoui), recently separated from the father of her little daughter, meets Dary (Guillaume Duhesme), the friend of a friend, in a party. He likes him. ” At my home or yours ? », she asks him. “Not at home, I have a roommate,” he tells her, suggesting that his situation is precarious. She is surprised that he lives in a shared apartment, and tells him in a banal way that he drives the same car as his grandmother. Fragile, depressed and intoxicated, he suddenly becomes upset. Humiliated by the rejection when Aly lets him know that she has changed her mind and asks him to take her home, Dary becomes violently violent.

Why did things happen this way? Delphine Girard repeats the (tense) thread of events, multiplying flashbacks and ellipses, until she paints a portrait of the situation which, if it does not offer all the answers, requires reflection. On police investigations, on the legal process, on the credibility given to victims, on their feeling of guilt and – a delicate subject – on the empathy that we can feel for the attackers.

What exactly distinguishes Leave the night from most thrillers on the same theme, is that he is interested in the psychology of all the characters, without preconceptions. Aly’s behavior may seem surprising to some after the attack. She seems to be seeking to exorcise or cleanse through sex the affront done to her body. Dary, released by the police while awaiting a possible trial, finds work as a firefighter, shelter with his mother (Anne Dorval) and moves in with a woman who has a young son.

The young filmmaker has the (good) reflex of trusting the intelligence of the viewer, leaving them free to offer their own interpretation to the actions and reactions of the characters, to fill in the silences and the unsaid. Why does Anna, upset by the strange call she received at the emergency center during the night, seem obsessed with the young woman who contacted her? Perhaps due to his own injuries? We won’t know, and that’s a good thing.

“We sometimes do weird things when we’re scared,” Anna reminds Aly. There is no manual for the perfect victim. And there is no typical portrait of the attacker. There are only beings, in all their complexity.


Check the movie schedule

Leave the night

Psychological drama

Leave the night

Delphine Girard

With Veerle Baetens, Selma Alaoui, Guillaume Duhesme, Anne Dorval

1:48 a.m.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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