Belgians have a hard time recognizing their
own talent. That's a fact of life. We're simply not good at promoting
our own stuff, even when it's obviously quite awesome. We don't expect
to make things that matter in the global view of things and somehow we
can't seem to grasp the idea that someone outside our tiny borders
would be interested in our products. Want proof? Check out Nuit Noire.
Smolders' film played some festivals and got some good reviews
(check out the ones on Twitch), but locally this film did nothing.
Until a couple of weeks ago I never even heard of the film. Which is
strange considering it doesn't look like your everyday low-budget
experimental flick. While watching I had to keep reminding myself that
this was a film coming from within the confines of our little country.
Nuit Noire exists very much in a reality of its own, but some
parallels to other directors and films can be made. The film is best
summarized as a mixture of early Lynch (think Eraserhead and The
Grandmother) and Cronenberg's Naked Lunch, while still retaining its
very own unique style. And Smolders makes sure to do proud to his
influences, as Nuit Noire manages to surpass his influences on several
The story is hardly coherent and mostly symbolic. As an audience,
you simply have to go with the flow of the film, hanging on to whatever
strands it throws your way. Multiple viewings are advised, but it
probably works best with an audio commentary to get all there is to
get. Oscar is a rather peculiar guy working in a museum. He loves
insects and spends his whole day among them. In his spare time, he
wrestles with his past and tries to paste back his memories of his lost
sister. Those are the basics.
Visually Nuit Noire is almost impeccable, with superbly designed
sets, smart color design and some very strange and inventive imagery.
There is much symbolism hidden in the imagery, some very direct (plenty
of bug shots), some a little harder to spot. Sadly there is also a
downside. The dreams of Oscar are depicted in a very stage-like manner,
almost resembling a theater play registration. A visually accomplished
one, but the feeling of stage performances is carried over to the other
scenes, creating a definite awareness that everything is played on set.
This is a bit of a shame, as the film isn't trying to break through the
4th wall. A little disappointing.
The soundtrack on the other hand doesn't disappoint at all, with
dark drones and eerie waves throughout the whole film. It brings the
film tons of atmosphere which helps to build a rather unsettling
feeling. Acting is stark and emotionally distant, but without a doubt
intended to create a darker and edgier reality.
Around halfway through you'll be wondering what this film is all
about, though the main themes come through rather well. Oscar's
struggle with his lost past is at the core of the film, but those
trying to find a coherent narrative will have a hard time following the
film. Luckily the atmosphere remains consistently strong and some of
the imagery is simply stunning to behold.
It's a real shame that the dream sequences weren't handled in a
different way. It would've been the final touch to an already strong
film. Now they distract a little and even hurt some of the other
scenes, which could never have been Smolders' intention. It's
definitely not a film for everyone as it's strange as hell and is
rather impenetrable on the first viewing, but it's a very accomplished
piece of cinema that should find its way to an enthusiastic fanbase.
Check it out if you have the chance.
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here
to report it, or see our DMCA policy