The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis

The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis poster

The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis movie poster

Set in 1977 Buenos Aires, at a time when Argentina was under military dictatorship, The Long Night of Francisco Santis portrays one man’s haunting night as he struggles with a moral decision.

A somewhat naïve husband and father, Francisco (Diego Velázquez – Wild Tales) was living a pretty unassuming life until an old-flame showed up to supposedly ask him permission to publish one of his old political poems. Their encounter however turns into another direction as she reveals the real reason behind their meeting is about warning a couple political opponents that they will be arrested in the morning. Faced with a dilemma that could put his life at risk, Francisco wanders through the sleepy city, hesitating between fulfilling this unwanted mission and passing it to somebody else.

Based on Humberto Constantini’s eponymous novel, Francisco Márquez and Andrea Testa’s directional debut is a quite singular work because of its simple premise, short running time and surprisingly weak central character. Francisco doesn’t seem to get much respect whether it’s at work or at home and the fact that he’s coerced into taking on such a risky endeavor is mental torture for him. It is both amusing and pathetic to see him trying to convince others to do the deed, especially when it comes to one of his friends’ teenage son. Francisco is a coward with a conscience, his inner struggle taking him on a nocturne trip through deserted streets. Of course, his hesitation might have consequences but the implied conclusion isn’t as important as the journey.

There have been quite a few movies following characters in streets at night from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) to The Warriors (1979) and Afterhours (1985), each having its own thematic and stylistic angles. While this movie certainly has political aspirations, the most interesting aspect here is how it is visually set like a dream – or rather a nightmare. Relying mostly on red, yellow, green color tones and keeping lots of elements willingly out of focus, the filmmakers create a hazy world inhabited by scarce shadowy figures. Despite several attempts to get out of his responsibilities, Francisco seems to be prisoner of a ghastly urban labyrinth that inexorably leads him to his mission’s destination.

A reflective and ambitious work, The Long Night of Francisco Santis successfully traps spectators, along its central character, making us experience some chilling, tormenting moments.

Director: Francisco Márquez, Alicia Scherson – Actors: Diego Velázquez, Valeria Lois – Running Time: 1:18 – Year: 2017 – Country: Argentina – Original Title: La Larga Noche de Francisco Sanctis
Click here to watch the The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis trailer
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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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