Simo, a 14 year old boy, lives in a cramped apartment located deep in the concrete jungle of Helsinki, Finland. Along with his big brother IIkka, they share an apartment with their helpless, broken down mother, with their father no where to found. With IIkka starting a prison sentence the next day, Simo is convinced by his mother to join his older brother for his last night of freedom on the town. Pirjo Honkasalo's Concrete Night is very bleak, providing a dream-like journey into the darker side of humanity. The film takes place in a single night, primarily following the two brothers as they encounter various characters and situations. Simo is a vulnerable young boy, and when his brother is forced to leave his side, due to unfinished business, Simo's perceptions of the world come to fruition - it's unbearable. Things culminate during an encounter with a photographer, whose intentions are much darker than he implies. This leads Simo into a blind rage, a moment that changes Simo's viewpoint on himself forever. Concrete Night is a film that argues the world is essentially made up of love and fear, with all other emotions being derived by these extremely powerful forces. Simo is a young boy who begins to realize that he falls more on the later side, a slave to his own fears and distractions, which ultimately sends him down a path of no return. While Concrete Jungle is a fascinating experience, the film left me more detached than it should, as I never found myself as emotionally invested as one would expect. Even keeping that in mind, I still found Concrete Night to be a profound exploration of humanity and the fragility of youth. This is a film full of lots of beautiful ideas and observations about humanity as a whole, but what really sticks out is Simo's bleak self-discovery. There is little doubt that the film's strong suit though is its aesthetic. Using crisp, digital black and white cinematography, Concrete Night delivers a dream-like journey into the psyche of a fragile mind, with beautiful imagery that evokes an emotionally response from the viewer. Pirjo Honkasalo's Concrete Night is a film that slowly consumes the viewer, encapsulating them in this bleak journey into the plight of young Simo.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.