Sunset Aberavon beach

Still Night, Still Light (2016)

I signed up for Mubi to try and find a different approach to choosing what films I watch. Sophie Goyette’s Still Night, Still Light caught my eye because it promised dreams, a slow pace and something restorative. My mind felt blasted from years of pushing and pulling and grappling with all that is out there. I was hopeful for this film.

Before it, I watched two other shorts films on Mubi. Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor is a triptych of three-minute film portraits of three film artists. It was light viewing, spending time briefly with each person. More heavy was The Hymns of Muscovy, twenty minutes floating through an upside-down Moscow listening to electronic versions of the Russian national anthem. It was trippy, Inception-like in the way buildings seemed to hang from the sky, and a slow, slow procession.

Short films before a main film reminds me of how cinemas worked when I was a kid. Still Night, Still Light moved through three characters too, Éliane, Romes and his father Pablo. Éliane gets the most film time and is also the youngest. Romes gets less and his father the least. Each one has a dream and is compelled to act on it, changing their lives to accommodate the press of something inside themselves that needs to be expressed. It’s beautifully shot, dream-like even when awake, the locations moving from Canada to Mexico to somewhere in Asia. The languages the characters speak are mixed together as they work to communicate with each other the best they can. Éliane is a musician. Romes is a photographer. They talk about the decisions made in the face of reality pushing you down a path you had not reckoned on. Creative ambitions are sacrificed for family, or put to one side to deal with trauma, or are dismissed out of fear of what choosing that path might mean.

It’s a raw subject for me and I’m pleased I chose it. It was exactly what I needed today.