Lost in the Night (Perdidos en la Noche)
Three years after the suspicious disappearance of his mother – a political activist campaigning against their Mexican village falling prey to North American companies for mining purposes – youth Emiliano thinks he has found a clue that could help him unearth what happened to her. The trail leads to the house of local celebrities (Rigoberto is an artist, his wife, Carmen, an actress, even daughter Mónica is a TikTok star). Under the pretence of seeking a job, Emiliano insinuates himself into their world, not realising he is getting entangled in a dark web of depravity.
Mexican prodigy Amat Escalante (winner of Cannes’s Best Director Award in 2013 for Heli) presents a roller coaster ride of genres in the festival’s Première section, ranging between political thriller, coming-of-age story and a celebrity satire. Despite the unambiguous statements on police corruption, the way the piece skewers the exploitation of people’s tragedies for artistic purposes is the most prominent and thought-provoking element. However, the feature ultimately falters under the weight of its own ambition, as the myriad of sidetracks only deflect from its core narrative to tonelessly deflagrate. The pacing is fickle and reminiscent of a telenovela, but the actors bravely withstand the unfocused back-and-forth in tone; in particular, the young leads manage to convince their audience.
The true star of the film seems to be the house in which the majority of the action takes place, and the splendidly constructed set design fascinates. The camera creates a sinister sense of foreboding every time it enters its four walls.
True to its title, Lost in the Night feels a little lost itself, but fans of the filmmaker may find the lighter tone it takes in comparison to his previous work a refreshing variation, despite the overall weakened impact.
Lost in the Night (Perdidos en la Noche) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Lost in the Night (Perdidos en la Noche) here: