Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980), the absence of political purpose among the disillusioned youth of urban Spain was fashioned into its own form of political statement. Sex is a sanctuary for the denizens of You and the Night; a balm against the tyranny of society. We don't see Paris, just the deliberately artificial sets and the dream journeys that take place; interiors within interiors.
It's a retreat into the self; skirting the fringes of hedonism to find direction in a directionless world. While the age of the characters varies significantly, Gonzalez's debut feels like a picture about millennial angst, much like the films of Xavier Dolan, with which it shares a fetishistic, stylistic pose (as well as lead actor Niels Schneider). These are glacial surfaces, and unfathomed depths. A glorious synth score is provided by Gonzalez's brother Anthony, aka M83. With its appropriation of eighties youth culture as a lens through which to view the present, the film shares much of the thematic and stylistic concerns of M83's 2008 album Saturdays = Youth. Gonzalez's weakness is one of pace and tone. There are sensational moments in You and the Night - from the Schnitzler-like plunges into the erotic abyss and the elegant aesthetic - but he can't quite manage to bring it together. The encouraging thing is that it's an easy fix. He may well go on to give us something quite breathtaking. In the meantime, we are - in the words of his brother - "waiting for a ride in the dark".
Craig Williams | @CraigFilm