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Film screening: The Passengers of the Night


From 6 October 2022




Garage Auditorium
Film screening: <i>The Passengers of the Night</i>Film screening: <i>The Passengers of the Night</i>


A historical melodrama by French director Mikhaël Hers, participant of the main competition of the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival. 

May 1981, the streets of Paris are filled with citizens celebrating François Mitterrand’s inaugural presidential term. Fragile Frenchwoman Elisabeth, with her husband and two teenage kids, Mathias and Judith, drives through the cheering crowd. They move into a new modernist house in the 15th arrondissement and, like everyone else, are waiting for a change for the better. But soon her husband will leave, and Elizabeth, who has never worked, devoting her entire life to raising the children, will have to learn to take everything into her own hands. Her salvation from daily insomnia and difficult thoughts is The Passengers of the Night, a radio program in which the female presenter’s velvety voice invites guests to tell the stories of their lives, sharing joys and tragedies with nighttime listeners. After getting a job at the radio station, Elizabeth meets Talulah, a young guest of the program who ran away from home and is addicted to drugs, and invites her to live with her. 

Directed by Mikhaël Hers, who grew up in a family of French socialists in the 1980s, The Passengers of the Night is like a warm memory of the past, devoid of too much nostalgia or the desire to pedantically preserve that period on the screen. The film is similar to François Ozon’s Summer of 85 or Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute), the only difference being that it plays by the rules of old cinema, which is equally evident in the acting style, visual aesthetics, and music. Created by director of photography Sébastien Buchmann, grainy, subdued imagery blends in with archival footage of Paris from that era. Charlotte Gainsbourg, who stars as Elizabeth, performs in the manner of the French new wave, producing a natural and corporeal performance. When Elizabeth goes on a date, her whole body screams about the freedom opening up to her. She flutters weightlessly across the screen and shrugs her shoulders with energy, like a child. Even when cooking a family dinner, she moves around the space angularly, playfully, and awkwardly, just like Anna Karina in Band of Outsiders. 

The story of Elizabeth is emphatically personal and political. The events described take place against the backdrop of Mitterrand’s first term, but the narrative of her life emerges from the endless limbo of his term in office, as she lives through a second youth, becoming emancipated, determining her personal values, and looking for love. For these seven years she lives with her family in the Beaugrenelle district, in a futuristically brutalist building by architect Michel Proulx, the embodiment of impatient anticipation of the future.

The film will be screened in French with Russian subtitles.

The Passengers of the Night
Dir. Mikhaël Hers
France, 2022. 111 min. 16+


Standard: 350 rubles
Student: 250 rubles*


GARAGE cardholders:  175 RUB.

Tickets for seniors, veterans, large families, under 18s, and visitors with disabilities (with one carer): 175 RUB**

We recommend that you buy tickets in advance. All ticket categories are available online.

* Students aged 18–25 on production of relevant ID
** Please show proof of eligibility at the cinema entrance