“The investigators question themselves when confronted with male violence towards women”: Dominik Moll on The Night of the 12th
At a time when femicide and violence against women remain prevalent threats in society, Dominik Moll’s The Night of the 12th pierces through many of the underlying issues in unexpected ways. At first glance, the movie is a rather straightforward police procedural, a true-crime dramatisation of the ilk ubiquitous on our screens today, using as it does a shocking true-life murder case referenced in the non-fiction book by Pauline Guéna 18.3 – A Year with the Crime Squad (in which a 21-year-old woman is set on fire) as a springboard for its story. However, throughout the duration, it manages – where many such films fail – to get under the skin of the forces at play when crimes of this nature are investigated, revealing itself to be a much broader exploration of the tension between men and women and the pervasive threat of male violence. Its sweeping of the board at last year’s César’s is a testament to the timeliness of its themes and the nuanced way they are dealt with, from victim-blaming to the reality of men largely investigating male-perpetrated crimes.
The Upcoming had the pleasure of speaking with the award-winning director about how he came across the true-life murder case that sparked the basis for his story, his careful approach to casting that emphasises the male-dominated sphere of the police force and contrasting characters within it, and his experience spending time with a real police unit in Grenoble to better understand the dynamic. We also discussed his restrained and exacting shooting style, which is punctuated with strong visual elements that allow the emotional and psychological elements of the story to emerge, and how the film has a surprisingly optimistic tone of never giving up, despite its dark subject matter. He further reflected on what it meant to him to win big at last year’s César awards, as well as to reach younger audiences who could connect to the issues raised in his film.
The Night of the 12th is released in select cinemas on 31st March 2023. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for The Night of the 12th here: