The Night (2019) [Feature]

Iran,USA (MIFF 2021 )
Director: Kourosh Ahari

The first Iran–US co-production to open in Iranian cinemas since the revolution pits a couple against a malevolent hotel, trapping them in the darkness with their secrets.

Lost and low on petrol on their way home after dinner, Badak and Neda decide to spend the night at the Hotel Normandie with their baby daughter. The 1920s-built LA establishment is eerily deserted, but they book a room, anyway. There, inexplicable happenings coax tensions – some brewing since a period of separation while Neda was still in Iran – to surface, forcing the couple to face the fractures in their marriage on top of the malicious forces that are inching ever closer.

Spoken almost entirely in Farsi, Kourosh Ahari’s impressive debut sets itself apart with its focus on the Iranian-American experience and the specific, simmering fears that tether themselves to marital relationships. The Night is a masterful cocktail of on-screen terror: unsettling locations, discordant score, shadowy cinematography, and performances – including a rousing star turn by Shahab Hosseini (The Salesman, MIFF 2016) and an unnervingly oddball George Maguire as the hotel’s receptionist – that exude suspense with every expression.

“Scary and stylish … Ahari's impressive feature debut is sure to satisfy genre fans and has the emotional heft and classy production values to attract discerning general audiences.” – Variety

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