Canada’s Next: Our Review of ‘Still Night, Still Light’

Posted in Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - July 25, 2018
Canada’s Next: Our Review of ‘Still Night, Still Light’

The first protagonist in Sophie Goyette’s debut feature Still Night, Still Light is Eliane (Eliane Prefontaine). She is one of three leads, a typical millennial. She goes to music festivals without having herself a good time. The movie switches to close-ups of the back of her head to trees. She also texts other people about her dreams.

Eliane then moves to Mexico where she talks to the Still Night‘s second lead, Romes (Gerardo Trejoluna). She walks the streets, less chaotic and with more character than ones in Quebec. We hear their non-diegetic conversation about Mexico, which Romes describes as hot and dangerous. This effect can work in other movies but there’s something disjointed about its use here.

Then Eliane and Romes take a road trip to a foggier part of Mexico, where Romes explains the fog. Watching this multiple times can make the audience wonder about Goyette’s aims. There are places and voices, supposedly signifying a frayed relationship between people and where they live. Atmosphere adds to that alienating feeling, but what else?

Still Night has its share of static shots that Goyette lights obtusely. It thus doesn’t give the chance for Prefontaine to show the hints of interior thought. Who knows what else she might be capable of evincing? The sound design during the vacation scenes are fine but it unfortunately, again, doesn’t serve a higher purpose.

There are more elements here that should have added up to something evocatively poetic but it always falls short. The movie has a voice over of an older woman speaking in Spanish. She advises the listener to contemplate the beautiful things. Thankfully it’s not some pop star pseudo poetry but once more, I see no reasoning here.

The film introduces its third lead more than an hour into its running time and an hour too late. It’s Romes’ father Pablo (Felipe Casanova). The former takes the latter to China for vacation, their moments are silent. The connections between Romes and the two other characters are fine but connecting all three seems tenuous at best.

The film makes its audience wonder Goyette’s decision making, especially with her camerawork. Too many shots are off center and dark and not in a good way. It relies too much on the characters’ voice overs. And minute moments are fine and have their place in place in experimental cinema. But the ones she captures here feel insignificant.

Sophie Goyette’s debut feature Still Night, Still Light streams on Mubi on July 25. Check it out there and I hope you see something in it.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
Comments are closed.