Venice 2023 Review: FOR NIGHT WILL COME, Gen Z Response to TWILIGHT
Élodie Bouchez and Mathias Legout Hammond star in the latest film by French director Céline Rouzet, a vampiric coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of a seemingly peaceful French suburb.
In Céline Rouzet's For Night Will Come (orig. French title, En Attendant La Nuit), a tranquil French suburb is the setting for a uniquely vampiric coming-of-age tale.
The Feral family, recent arrivals, attempt to integrate into their new community, but it doesn't take long for the local residents to notice their unusual habits. Late-night dinners in the basement, a fridge full of blood sacks, and an aversion to sunlight, especially by their eldest son Philemon (Mathias Legoût Hammond), give them away.
The family's daily routine primarily revolves around accommodating Philemon's unique condition. His mother (Elodie Bouchez) finds employment at a local blood bank, ensuring a steady supply for her son, while the father (Jean-Charles Clichet) takes on domestic duties. As Philemon navigates the challenges of his new environment, he finds a strange attraction to the girl-next-door, Camila (Céleste Brunquell). She drives him to embrace his new life, even if it means stepping into the sunlight occasionally.
Yet, having a vampire in the family isn't without its challenges. As each day passes, the logistics of catering to Philemon's needs become increasingly complicated. The local teens, led by Camila's boyfriend, begin to grow suspicious of Philemon's odd behavior and inconsistent backstory. His apparent infatuation with Camila further strains his social standing.
Rouzet's film employs a dual narrative approach, capturing the complexities of both teenage and parental experiences. For Night Will Come isn't just a story about a young misfit trying to fit into conformist society, it's equally about the struggles parents face in protecting their children. While navigating the challenges of raising a teenage vampire, the parents grapple with outbursts of "you don't understand me," mirroring the typical teenage experience.
Challenging traditional vampire narratives, Rouzet's depiction of Philemon stands out. He's not the typical blood-thirsty creature of the night; instead, he's portrayed as an ethical vampire, a creature of peace who requires hemoglobin to not go berserk. There's an underlying humor in drawing parallels between Philemon's vampiric needs and the turbulent nature of teenage hormones, even if the film maintains a serious tone.
Opening in a manner reminiscent of the lycanthropic-themed Good Manners, Rouzet's film explores themes of protection and familial bonds. Unlike Good Manners, however, For Night Will Come flirts less with genre morphing, with fewer shifts in tone. Through her depiction of an idyllic suburbia, Rouzet subtly critiques societal norms, suggesting that beneath the perfect lawns and cozy homes lies a community rife with hypocrisy and xenophobia.
Ultimately, For Night Will Come delves into the broader themes of acceptance, conformity, and the inherent "monsters" within society. Rouzet crafts a tale that could be viewed as a Gen Z response to Twilight, featuring no fights but with an emphasis on family dynamics and societal commentary.
The film screened recently at the Venice International Film Festival.
En attendant la nuit
- Céline Rouzet
- William Martin
- Céline Rouzet
- Mathias Legout Hammond
- Élodie Bouchez
- Jean-Charles Clichet