Friday Night (2002, Claire Denis)

The movie dares you to stay awake, like a french Archangel.

Tried to watch this with Katy back in the apartment, but something went wrong. I remember her getting tired then mad, and I never tried to finish it. Then finally I watched again – then took a trip right afterwards and didn’t write anything until now, a month later. There’s not much to remember, plot-wise. A girl is packing her apartment preparing to move in with her fiancee. Stuck on the road during a transportation strike, she offers a ride to a guy (star of La Moustache). He plays it cool and eventually she’s chasing after him. Will they end up in a hotel bed together? Why yes, it’s shown there on the DVD menu, nice. Some computer animation and an iris-shot imagination scene weirdly spice up what’s otherwise a dreamy-distracted natural film. It needs its own sense of time though, maybe its own week, and I don’t give movies that sort of personal space, so I have a feeling this one’s sensitivity will get swallowed up by whatever Takashi Miike flick I watch next. Maybe I’ll try again with Katy sometime.

From E. Hynes’s just-published article in Reverse Shot:

Many films foreground, and take full advantage of, the fact that we like to watch. Rare is the film that considers and satisfies these desires equally. Rarer still is one that doesn’t make us feel guilty for our desires or their satisfaction. Friday Night is aware of guilt as an emotional response but doesn’t make it a moral imperative. … It carves out a space where desires and curiosities can be explored without corrective regret. If only for a night we’re set free to touch and feel and immerse ourselves in the moment. And our conduit—our eyes, ears, and hands—is a woman. As are our director, authors (Denis and Emmanuèle Bernheim, adapting her novel), and cinematographer (Agnès Godard). Denis’s film is radical not just for being so casually yet utterly feminist, but also for forwarding a feminine point of view as frankly universal.