O Beautiful Night: A deliriously ecstatic and wickedly wild journey into darkness
The first feature film from illustrator and director Xavier Böhm, co-written alongside Ariana Berndi, O Beautiful Night is a delightfully devious take on the buddy comedy. The story follows Juri (Noah Saavedra), a young musician afraid of dying, who’s confronted by a man who claims to be the embodiment of Death (Marko Mandić). After warning Juri that he’s going to die that evening, he whisks him into the night where the musician meets and becomes infatuated with a mysterious girl named Nina (Vanessa Loibi). With the three unlikely companions roaming the night, it’s uncertain who will survive until morning.
Taking place in a grimy urban setting, this devilish outing takes us to Russian roulette games at a go-kart track, a seedy peep-show and opium den, and a peculiar shop run by a Korean witch where we encounter dozens of memorable characters along the way, each stranger than the last. The film is brimming with creativity and humour as macabre as it is sharp. Thanks to a taut, character-focused screenplay and outstanding performances from its three central leads – particularly Mandić, whose wry delivery and knowing looks never fail to leave a huge smirk across our faces – there’s never a dull moment to be found here.
The movie’s presentation itself is just as delightful. Painted with bursts of neon and accompanied with a joyous soundtrack of serene pop songs and pounding experimental electronics, the bleak world in which we’re thrust through is given a vibrant, dream-like personality that serves to make this nocturnal crusade even more glorious. Likewise, beautifully illustrated images of flowers that are intercut between scenes also give the overall style some added flavour.
Underneath all of the black comedy and colourful aesthetics, O Beautiful Night has something to say about the condition of death and our innate fear of it through some intimate scenes between Juri and Nina. Though more could have been made of these moments by digging a little deeper into their implications, enough is done to acknowledge their existence without sacrificing character or pace.
From start to finish, O Beautiful Night is a deliriously ecstatic and wickedly wild journey into darkness. Brilliantly written with three excellent performances and dripping with style, this is one date with Death you don’t want to miss, so strap in and enjoy the ride.
O Beautiful Night does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.