By Monica Delgado

Un Año, Una Noche (One Year, One Night, 2021) , premiered in the competition for the Golden Bear at the 72nd Berlinale, is a film about trauma and the impossibility of overcoming tragic events from a psychological point of view. Moreover, it seems appropriate that the adaptation of a non-fiction book about a survivor of the attack on the Bataclan club in Paris in 2015 fell into the hands of the Spanish filmmaker Isaki Lacuesta, since although the film describes the horror during this assault, it focuses more on the consequences of this event in the relationship of a young couple, played by the Argentine actor Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and the French actress Noémie Merlant.

The development of the film details the intimacy and interiority of these two characters, who still seem not to completely overcome this attack. The relationship with some Spanish friends, anxiety attacks, and also states of denial appear as pieces of a situation between catharsis (from the male character) and its reverse, containment (from the female character). And from the follow-up to this process of healing and fears, reflections are allowed among the characters on the inability to face the fear of death such as the phobia of Arab culture, or even the idea of ??a nation after the implications of the attack. Lacuesta goes from a usual inevitable sensationalism at the beginning of the film, to go later, little by little, towards the codes of the psychological film, to delve into the psyche of one of the characters, and perhaps that option makes the film improve, and generate a direct empathy with the viewer towards the end.

I must say, that the beginning of the film, with the use of some “electrifying” flashbacks, generated a great distrust in me about what could come in the next two hours. This common place of how to design memories from the notion of the furtive, the imprecise, as a chaotic dream, for some works about tragedies or terrorist attacks, or from sensationalism or morbidity (if we think of the inevitable Utøya: July 22 by Erik Poppe, or in the Paul Greengrass version) little by little lost ground to give way to condiments in a love, friendship and work relationship crossed by trauma.

Based on the book Peace, love and Death metal, by Ramón González, One year, one night is a different work from the usual Lacuesta cinema (Between two waters, The double steps, The book of Clay), and perhaps due to the theme , in order to enter broader film markets. However, despite the commercial intention that this bet could have, it is perceived as a filmmaker dedicated to building the uneasiness of a character, from this psychological plane, stripped of easy terms and with a twist that is not perceived as imposed.

Berlinale international competition

Direction: Isaki Lacuesta
Screenplay: Isa Campo, Isaki Lacuesta, Fran Araújo. Book: Ramon Gonzalez
Music: Raül Refree
Photography: Irina Lubtchansky
Cast: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Noémie Merlant, Quim Gutiérrez, Alba Guilera, Natalia de Molina, C. Tangana, Enric Auquer, Blanca Apilánez, Bruno Todeschini, Sophie Broustal
Producers: Mr. Fields and Friends, Bambú Producciones, La Termita Films, Noodles Production
Spain, France, 2022, 120 min