Directed by: Mikhaël Hers
Distributed by: KimStim
Written by Jeff Sparks
Starring the 2009 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress, “The Passengers of The Night” sees Charlotte Gainsbourg as Elisabeth, a recently divorced mother who searches for a path that will lead her into the next stage of her life. After getting fired on her first day as a data logger she feels as hopeless as ever before stumbling into a job as a switchboard operator for an all-night radio show. During a walk home one night, she meets a young homeless drifter named Talulah (Noée Abita) who she gives a place to stay. Possibly seeing herself in the lost girl, she lets her live with her family. Also living in the apartment is her teenage son (Quiton Rayon Richter) who struggles to find something to do with his life after high school. This trio of characters all represent different types of people who share similar feelings of being lost. Gainsbourg’s Elisabeth is a middle-aged mother of two who thought she had everything figured out a long time ago. After getting married and raising a boy and a girl she thought that her place in the world was being there for her family. But after being unexpectedly divorced she had to go back out in the world and find something new to do with her life. Talulah is someone we know very little about, except that she has been on her own for a long time. At only eighteen she moves from place to place, never connecting with anyone for too long until she meets Elisabeth. And Eliabeth’s son isn’t even out of high school yet but he as well doesn’t know what the future holds.
Each of them struggles with the same sense of not knowing what the next day will hold for them if anything at all. A beautiful melancholic score accompanies a variety of camera work that tracks Elisabeth’s travels around Paris throughout the film. Occasionally a slew of grainy retro shots are mixed in which give the film its own visual style. After sneaking into a movie theater in one scene Talulah says “Some movies you like way later, others you like when you rewatch them.” Neither sentiment is true with “The Passengers of The Night” as I found it to be a very solid film from Mikhaël Hers. More importantly, the film is yet another solid addition to the exquisite filmography of the great Charlotte Gainsbourg who delivers one of the year’s best performances.
“The Passengers of the Night” Trailer