Anne Émonds dazzling debut feature is a bold and intimate study of a one-night stand. Clara and Nikolai meet at a sweat-soaked rave and end their night at his apartment. The first part of the film is an erotic and candid portrait of their lovemaking: we witness the mystery, sensuality and awkwardness of that first encounter. They know very little about each other, and we know very little about them.
When Nikolai catches Clara trying to sneak out without saying goodbye, this typical hookup takes an unexpected turn. The two strangers, now sober and clothed, begin to talk. Nikolai is coolly frank, criticizing modern women like Clara, whom he claims behave like men. She seems to be a disheartened romantic, sharing what she hoped Nikolai would have said to convince her to stay.
They continue to talk until dawn, often in uninterrupted, brutally honest monologues. Clara and Nikolai learn as much about each other in a few hours as some learn over the course of a long-term relationship. The power struggles of a couple play out, almost dance-like, in this one night. Most remarkable are the astonishing insights they make about their lives as they both venture willingly into the darkest parts of themselves. Our impressions of Clara and Nikolai change many times throughout the course of the film.
Set almost entirely in Nikolais unadorned apartment, Nuit #1 focuses closely on the two captivating lead actors, the camera scrutinizing their faces and small, nuanced gestures. Émond has deftly combined spare but elegant form with maximum impact, and the themes she developed in her fine short films flourish on a larger scale in this sharply perceptive first feature. In a world of technology-mediated contact and fleeting encounters, Nuit #1 is a cathartic chamber piece about two modern young people who dare to go much further. (Imdb)