NOBODY WANTS THE NIGHT
A delicate and pale face, covered with strange futuristic glasses, is wedged in a pile of furry animal skins and a gramophone is playing while a group of arctic explorers crosses the infinite white landscape on a dog sled. Mrs Josephine Peary is a woman on a mission. Her mission is to follow her husband to where no one has ever set their foot before – the geographical North Pole.
Nobody Wants the Night (Nadie quiere la noche, Spain/France/Bulgaria, 2015) kicked off this year’s Berlinale competition programme. The fact that it was made by an acclaimed female director Isabel Coixet and that it tells a story of two women who find themselves in the deadly embrace of one of the longest and coldest “nights” of their lives, made us expect a more modern female-driven piece than the one it actually delivered.
We could admire Josephine because her courage, intensity and craziness are far greater than that of her male companions, but the film mostly makes us notice her beautifully designed dresses and her bourgeois manners. That only serves the aesthetics of the film but lacks any significance. So in the end she becomes this sort of tragic stereotype of naïve female explorers, which is, sadly, far from her real life counterpart.
The film also vaguely tries to explore some racial and humanistic matters. The two main characters, Mrs Peary and Allaka, are strangers from two different cultures. But what does that really mean in the empty wastelands of the far north? There is no society, no rules and no judges. Only wide open spaces and the extreme cold. The only thing that matters is survival.
Life in the “winter dessert” is stripped down to the basics. You have to eat and you have to stay warm. You have to stay alive. The pulse that is giving them a lifeline comes from inside. Compassion slowly melts the thick ice-shield that surrounds the two of them. But what happens when only one can survive? Who can return home safely and who is sent into the night?
Ana Šturm // Written for Berlinale Talent Press 2015 // Berlinale 2015