Chantal Akerman – Nuit et jour aka Night and Day (1991)


Jack and Julie live in a bare flat in Paris. At night, Jack drives a taxi while Julie wanders around the city, and in the day they make love. One day Julie meets Joseph, the daytime driver of the taxi, and soon Julie is spending her nights with Joseph and her days with Jack..

Subtitles:Spanish (idx-sub),English srt

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  1. “Night
    and Day” (1991) by Chantal Akerman
    “Night and Day” is a film about the nature
    of human personal love – about the experience of loving which in the real life
    is only part of human amorous psychology but an essential one, the spiritual
    essence of love, as humans experience it. Chantal Akerman takes this sublime
    emotional undercurrent in human love, separates it from other aspects of love,
    more conscious and more philistine and even manipulative, and represents it in
    the film as love affairs between young newcomers to Paris, Julie and Jack, and
    later on in the film, between Julie, Jack and Joseph. The result is a
    film-poem, film-elegy, film-panegyric about purity and spontaneity of human

    Of course, Akerman is too a scholarly director to leave
    us with just a film-praise and film-adoration. While experiencing the film we
    start to feel the analytical streak in how the director has organized the
    narrative and images. Critical semantics joins the depiction of Julie, Jack and
    Joseph’s lives. These two and later three are gentle and innocent inhabitants
    of Creation. They are together like they are with the whole Paris, like they
    are with Creation itself. They are neither consumers nor possessors of love,
    they are participants in love which they feel as something like the amorous
    aspect of Heideggerian Being, and in the process of feeling themselves loving
    and in love they, as if, humanize Creation by transforming it into ontological
    plenitude which is touched by some kind of gracious melancholy of their very
    existence in love and through love.

    How and why spiritual mutations happen is one of the
    mysteries of human psychology. Chantal Akerman makes us see such a mutation in
    action when one morning Julie, after returning to her and Jack’s place after
    having spend night with Joseph and expecting Jack’s return from working night
    shift, suddenly felt an unconditional desire (which probably was silently ripening
    in her unconscious for a while) to leave her life, to live Jack and Joseph forever,
    never return to their places, to leave without looking back, to leave in spite
    of being… happy. She felt the necessity to run away from her happiness. Even
    genuine personal love (not to mention predatory marriages when symbiosis with
    marital and family ties functions as a surrogate for love and imprisons beloveds
    in the gilded castle of conventional “love” as a shining banner of social
    status), is not enough for an intelligent human being.

    “Night and Day” is one of the most gracious films among
    intellectual films. Its tender, intuitive quality and its gently insistent
    semantic perspective we’ll never forget. This film will always have p. in
    our memory.

    By Victor Enyutin

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