Obsession and Sexism Explored in The Night of the 12th

Obsession and Sexism Explored in The Night of the 12th

I am unchangingly fascinated by films that explore topics without using the buzzwords of the time. They are often increasingly fascinating considering it feels less like a message movie and increasingly like a mediation. Movies such as Dominik Moll’s The Night of the 12th can explore the vastitude of the premises of the usual “patriarchy bucks” considering its notation aren’t ciphers but people.

Moll’s The Night of the 12th is a police procedural examining obsession. A well-worn genre, it is, nonetheless, one of my favorites. But here, Moll, who co-wrote the script with Gilles Marchand, explores men slowly realizing how horrible it is. But it moreover doubles mediates on the time-honored cinematic motif of “obsession” with the lead detective Yohan Vives (Bastien Boullion) refusing to let the unsolved specimen go. This isn’t a spoiler; the opening title vellum tells us this.

night of the 12th

Stephanie (Pauline Serieys) and Detective Yohan Vives (Bastien Bouillon)

Based on a non-fiction book, “18.3-Une annee a la PJ” by Puline Guena, The Night of the 12th looks at the specimen of a young girl Clara (Lula Cotton-Frapier), who was set on fire. Her death sets off an investigation that will haunt the newly scheduled lead detective of a peerage treason squad. Throughout the case, the men will be forced to reckon with attitudes and conceptions they don’t have words for. It’s in the silent struggle that The Night of the 12th comes alive.

Even though the girl was set on fire, her death and thumping siphon with them the undertones of rape—a fact highlighted by the steadily growing number of sexual partners Clara had. The men of the Grenoble Criminal Squad wilt increasingly frustrated at how Clara refuses to be, for them-a perfect victim. But there’s never a scene in which they talk well-nigh this outright.

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Moll and Marchand’s script cleverly lives between the lines. Yet, at times the script will stop playing coy and be frank in a jarring way. Such as when Yohan speaks to one of Clara’s friends, Stephanie (Pauline Serieys), well-nigh why she left off a man from her list of men Clara knew. “What difference does it make? It wasn’t her. You don’t get it. She did nothing.”

Bouillon’s Yohan is a fresh-faced leader, newly assigned, and once he has unprotected the specimen that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Still, without realizing it, he and the rest of the Grenoble Treason Squad have subtly begun looking at Clara’s treason differently. No one says she deserved it. But some other detectives have commented that they know girls “like her.” The detectives are trying to solve the case, but the lens they are looking at is getting overly so slightly shifted that they barely notice, making it so disconcerting. 

Moll and his cameraperson Patrick Ghiringhelli craft a dream-like procedural. Interrogations are mixed with reports that somebody must fill out in triplicate and printers that must be jerry-rigged considering of upkeep cuts. There are unbearable stumbling blocks in the day to day of a detective; confirmation bias seems like just flipside log for the fire.

Ghiringhelli’s camera tomfool loftiness creates a haunting, scrutinizingly Lynchian, vibe as Yohan and the other detectives ventilator lanugo one lead without another, only for each to wind up in a dead-end. The answers are so tantalizingly tropical yet unchangingly just out of reach.

It doesn’t help that many of the detectives are having troubles at home and do not realize that they are letting their home life transude into the investigation—detectives like Marceau (Bouli Lanners), who is divorcing his wife, Nathalie. The reason why is complicated and tragic, but his desire for justice might moreover stem from what Marceau sees as his failing.

Yohan senses this. He tries his weightier to steer both Marceau and the others, but he seems only to uncork to realize the depth of misogyny and how it affects everything he knows. Marceau and Yohan will sooner move in together, and Yohan will witness a deterioration of a man he once worshiped but is unsure if he plane likes. The two men are like a deathly, tragic, odd couple. The young idealist and the grizzled misanthrope are trying to solve a specimen of a young girl whose murder and violation seem so wayfarer yet so matter-of-fact to them.

Bouillon’s freshly scrubbed squatter contrasted with Lanners’s bearded, grizzled scowl that roots the movie in its internal tug of war. Both men are searching for something but don’t know what it is. Their late-night conversations show precisely what it ways by “systemic issues.” The treason squad may not be corrupt, but it is not a shining steer of justice. 

And, like, that it’s three years later. Clara’s specimen is still unsolved, Macau has retired, and Yohan is still the throne of the Treason Squad, which now has one woman on it, Nadia (Mouna Soualem). Yohan is summoned by a judge, a woman, who asks him to reopen Clara’s case. Their conversation is blistering, straightforward, and haunting. It’s one of two conversations so layered that it is worth seeing the movie for them alone.

Yohan tells the judge, “Something’s wrong between men and women.” It’s the thesis of the movie. 

night of the 12th

Yohan (Bouillon) and Nadia (Mouna Soualem)

The other conversation comes later between Yohan and Nadia. Vacated on a stakeout, they discuss why she joined the peerage squad. Her wordplay flatters him but moreover condemns him in a way he wasn’t expecting. Ghiringhelli frames Soualem’s squatter in the darkness, the only light from a streetlight outside the van. Like a Carravagio painting, she sits there, putting to words the uncomfortable truth Yohan had been stumbling towards for years. 

But it brings them no closer to Clara’s killer.

The Night of the 12th spends much of its time between the lines. But it’s the moments where it drops the pretenses and speaks the truth is where it becomes a bracing and gripping procedural. Increasingly than anything, Moll understands that part of the problem isn’t that the system is wrenched but that the people inside are too.