A Plan Comes Together In Intense First Trailer for Bertrand Bonello’s Paris-Set Terrorism Drama ‘Nocturama’

Written by on May 12, 2016 

paris is happening bertrand bonello

Bertrand Bonello knows he’s treading some difficult waters with his latest feature, Nocturama, a.k.a. Paris Is Happening. In the recent light of horrific acts within the city, a film about Parisian youth carrying out terrorist acts is bound to inspire some ire — so much so that it might explain the Cannes mainstay not premiering his new picture at this year’s festival. As he discussed in my interview, posted late last year:

“It’s a little complicated. I’m editing the film, which is about young people putting bombs in Paris — so it’s very weird, these days, to work on the editing. So, yes, it’s a very contemporary film. I’m working on the editing; I showed a version today, for the first time, to the producers, but it’s a little weird to work on that in Paris these days.

[We’re] trying to keep on working without doing any relationship with reality — to keep working on the film, on the feature, the fiction. Even if there are some things that are really the same, there are also some that are very different. We have to separate those and just keep on working, and see in a few months, when the film is finished.”

Ahead of its August release in France, a trailer has arrived — and despite being subtitle-free, it’s mostly reliant on a barrage of foreboding, intensely juxtaposed images that get the idea across just fine. Consider this a sign of immense promise. Bonello strikes me as one of our major living filmmakers, and the first taste of his latest doesn’t let down that reputation.

Update: See it below, now with English subtitles.


One morning in Paris. A fistful of adolescents, from different backgrounds. Individually, they begin a strange dance through the labyrinth of the metro and the streets of the capital. They seem to be following a plan. Their gestures are precise, almost dangerous. They come together in the same place, a department store, at closing time. Paris erupts. The assault begins…

nocturama paris is happening poster

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