The night of the 12th, the French Hitchockian thriller that leaves you attached to the big screen

The metaphysics of the police investigation. The night of 12 from Dominik Moll, in Italian cinemas from 29 September, is a film that will leave you attached to the big screen from the first to the last minute. In a village near Grenoble, in the French Alps, during the night, close to a small garden, a girl who is returning home after an evening spent with a friend is burned alive by someone who calls her by name and then throws them away. on alcohol. It will be a group of judicial police officers to diligently investigate every possible lead and male suspect, but never find a culprit, even after three years.

Taken from the book by Pauline Guena – 18.3, Une année a la PJ – Moll’s film, co-written with Gilles Marchand, opens immediately with a caption that makes it clear that the mystery of that violent death will probably not be solved in the here and now of the filmic form: every year the judicial police investigate about 800 murders of which 20% remain unsolved. That of the young Clara is one of them. A brutal murder that also becomes a silent and underground obsession for the leader of the police group he investigates, the equally young and calm Yohan (Bastien Bouillon). But be careful: The night of 12 it is not cinema devoted to spectacularization, on the contrary. The value of this Hitchcockian mountain thriller (forget any reference to The Girl in the Fog by Carrisi, please) lies in being able to hold back, between the folds of an icy sunlight atmosphere and the looming Prealps on either side of the picture , the protagonists’ outbursts of anger, despair and indignation. The narration of the detection it is, in fact, one-dimensional. Compacted in the rhythm and enlarged in the air granted to the often whole figures within each shot, the unrolling of the temporal plan concerning the investigations is primarily concentrated in the police barracks where only men work (if not in the last part with the ripple relevant to the appearance of a policewoman). And it is in the apparent routine of a photocopier failing and being repaired with the hands, of a closet left open during an interrogation and that brings out a shirt and a flak jacket, of the boring typing of interrogation reports, that the the inertia of the factual nothing is mixed with the impossible flicker of the conclusion of the case.

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A perennial surplace between interrogations, searches, telephones brought under control, which compresses the psyche and characters of the cops, navigating a vibrant explanatory surface of personal situations without ever delving into the easy melodrama of the subplots. Finally, in La notte del 12, a sort of ethical pendulum and cultural anthropological commonplace is also structured and put in the foreground, which in any case leads to reflection: the woman who allows herself easily goes to look for it. “More than a feminist noir, as many French critics have positively described it, mine is a film that challenges masculinity”, she explains to FQMagazine director Moll. “In the middle of the story, after all, this scene takes place in which Yohan interrogates for the umpteenth time the friend of the protagonist to ask her who is another suspect as well as half and yet another lover of Claire. At that point the desperate girl starts to cry and says, “Who cares who Claire was sleeping with, it’s not her fault that she was killed.” That sentence makes Yohan aware of something that he could not grasp and makes us male spectators think that despite everything if a man lives a thousand sexual adventures he is valued, if he does it a woman is rarely seen well. It is paradoxical, but it must be reiterated: a woman has the right to have all the adventures she wants without being murdered or raped ”.

In France, La notte del 12 drew over 450,000 spectators in the height of summer (a figure similar to the number of spectators of Top Gun: Maverick in Italy in the three summer months, for comparison). “Look, it’s a real exploit for the French market too, don’t think. Here, too, the big takings are always in favor of US blockbusters. But the fact that my film ran for 12 weeks, and is still in theaters today, means that noir, polar, a certain type of thriller still has a good audience appeal. In Italy it distributes Teodora.

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