Psychological aftermath of Bataclan attack survivors explored in 'One Year, One Night'

Film from Girona-born director Isaki Lacuesta screening as part of Berlinale competition

Isaki Lacuesta, director of 'One Year, One Night', pictured at the Berlinale, February 14, 2022 (by Violeta Gumà)
Isaki Lacuesta, director of 'One Year, One Night', pictured at the Berlinale, February 14, 2022 (by Violeta Gumà) / ACN

ACN | Berlin

February 14, 2022 07:07 PM

'One Year, One Night', from Girona-born director Isaki Lacuesta, reconstructs the psychological repercussions of the Bataclan theatre attack in Paris, from the point of view of two survivors.

The film, which premiered on Monday as part of the 72nd annual Berlin International Film Festival, begins moments after armed terrorists enter the venue during the Eagles of Death Metal concert on the night of November 13, 2015.

It follows the journey of a couple over the course of the following year, returning via flashbacks to the fateful night in which 90 people died at the Bataclan alone.

"All of us can recognize ourselves in the protagonists, who are trying to recover and regain their lust for life," Lacuesta told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) in an interview in Berlin.

Lacuesta shows the impact the Islamic State attacks had on French society, with the themes of racism, hatred and denial present throughout the film, which is based on real testimonies of the attack and the book 'Peace, Love and Death Metal' by survivor, Ramón González.

Ramón is, in fact, one half of the couple at the center of the film, along with Céline, played by Nahuel Pérez and Noémie Merlant respectively on the big screen, with Quim Gutiérrez, C. Tangana, Natalia de Molina and Enric Auquer also appearing.

"The details and the experiences of that night and the following year, we never heard them talked about," Lacuesta says.

He was motivated to make the film because he believes that it makes people question what they know about the attacks and the reality suffered by the victims.

The need for the central couple feel to claw back their "lust for life", Lacuesta says, is admirable. "They needed to learn again how to love, to sing, to fuck, to write, and they did not want to give up."

Unlike the book, the film tells the story from two points of view, that of Céline and Ramon, two different ways "to deal with the experience of the attack."

"Ramon decides to change his life, even though by society's standards he had a successful life, and Céline decides not to say anything about it to anyone, so that she is not treated as a survivor. She believes that any change in her life is a victory for the terrorists."

Racist feelings

The director of 'One Year, One Night' says he did not want to shy away from any of the feelings experienced by the real people the film is based on and he also wanted to portray the fear that many felt of having racist thoughts.

"They talked about the feeling of thinking that you're not a racist, but that after an attack you have had racist feelings."

"It's a terrible fear to realize there's something inside you that makes you not be the person you want to be," he says. The production team talked to experts and specialists to address this issue, in order to bring it to the big screen in a "delicate" way.

Lacuesta says he wanted to create a film "full of light," which alternated moments of pain and "color". "We wanted to capture the whole roller coaster of emotions."