Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival, this is an ode to refined decadence that, according to Serra, has particularly European roots. Thanks to libertarian values, it was only in Europe that society dared to place the aesthetics of pleasure above morality. “I wanted to make a film about the night,” said the director, “not one that takes place at night but a film about the logic of the night that changes our perception, moral principles, everything. A film about the utopia of sexual liberation, when the differences between people disappear: there are no women or men, no servants or masters, no beautiful people or ugly people. About a perfect, strange, dark utopia—a brotherhood of bodies.” Eighteenth-century French aristocrats and their foreign guests meet at night in the solitude of a forest, as if onstage among the set decorations, to indulge in an orgy—the role that has been written for them. Immersed in darkness, amid whispers and groans, they face their own and others’ greed; they confront one another with their nakedness, compulsion and desire. On the path to a “full life,” they will have to cross one border after another.
Cannes IFF 2019 - Un Certain Regard - Special Jury Prize