Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Leonardo Brzezicki's feature debut Noche demonstrates that he is able to manage individual moments a lot better than culmulative effects. His loose narrrative has a dreamy, drifting quality, which pays off initially but which wanders off from the central narrative into indulgent backwaters once too often. There is, however, no doubting his command of atmosphere which, even when there is little being said, rarely loosens its grip.

The story is of the bare bones sort and involves a collection of acquaintances - friends might be putting it a bit too strongly - who have gathered at a house in the rural back of beyond. Their mutual pal, sound recordist Miguel, is dead and they are working through their grief by hanging out with one another and listening to his recordings being pumped out at high volume from speakers on his estate. That's more or less it in terms of narrative, there is sex and guilt here and some soul-searching but much of what passes for action smacks of the need to add something to the mix rather than being an organic exploration of ideas born out of the film's mood. The characters feel underexplored so that none linger much in the memory and this dilutes the film's emotional impact.

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The power of sound, so recently exploited in Berberian Sound Studio, is, when married to the impressive cinematography, the film's strongest suit, exploring incongruity - such as the noise of rainfall set against a hazy summer's day. But Brzezicki gets so wrapped up in the visuals - frequently recalling Carlos Reygadas, who is surely a big influence here - that he forgets moments cannot fully satisfy unless they coalesce.

Still, there are moments aplenty to be enjoyed, from the haunting opening sequence of a star hanging in the sky as audio of a church flows over it followed by a series of graceful dissolves, to a scene of primal destruction involving a table full of leftovers and a group of dogs. The film is most certainly a showcase for cinematographer Max Ruggieri, who is likely to find his career taking off after this and for the sterling, intricate work of veteran sound designer Leandro de Loredo.

Reviewed on: 18 Jul 2013
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After sound designer Miguel dies, his friends go to his house, where he has left a soundscape for them to explore.

Director: Leonardo Brzezicki

Writer: Leonardo Brzezicki

Starring: Flavia Noguera, Gaston Re, Nadyn Sandrone, Maria Soldi, Julian Tello, Jair Jesus Toledo, Pablo Matias Vega

Year: 2012

Runtime: 92 minutes

Country: Argentina


EIFF 2013

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