The Night Eats the World (‘La Nuit a Dévoré le Monde’)

DRAMA; 1hr 33min

STARRING: Anders Danielsen Lie, Denis Lavant

The Lie of the land…

Break-ups can feel like the end of the world, but what if yours literally were? That’s how it plays out for muso Sam, who sleeps through an overnight zombie attack on his ex-gf’s Paris apartment while conveniently locked in its office. Awaking the next morning, Sam (Personal Shopper’s Lie) finds the premises trashed and the City of Light plunged into existential darkness. The undead have descended with their customary rabid greed and Sam is a defending force of one.


His first two priorities are security and food; his third, the acquisition of a stylish black leather jacket—bear in mind that this is Paris, after all, and that director Dominique Rocher shot his feature debut in both French and English. Not that there’s any undue talking: barricaded inside the building, Sam explores its other apartments, makes music with random items and lets loose with a virtuosic turn on a drum kit, which of course attracts a crowd of zombies who bang rudely on the front doors. He’s also the resourceful sort, collecting rainwater in bowls on the roof, jogging down the stairwell and amusing himself by paintballing the lurking creatures. “Dead is the norm now,” he muses to a mute member of the tribe who is locked in the elevator cage (Holy Motors’ Lavant, emoting frantically). As the winter chill descends, the way Sam’s situation is shaping up, dead isn’t looking so shabby. Surviving solo is a test of sanity and his is beginning to fray.


Rocher’s creatures are pro forma, but they’re never the focus of this meditation on boundaries, adapted from Pit Agarmen’s 2012 novel. Its concerns revolve around the more cerebral questions of who or what we might become if the parameters that once governed us no longer applied, and if staying the course of such an existence is worth its inevitable toll.