DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

A 12-Year Night (La Noche de 12 Años)

Director - Alvaro Brechner - 2018

"Filthy genius movie"
Political drama about large prison stint of former Uruguayan president Pepe Mujica and two other political prisoners astounds Venice


This is a film that’s both striking and necessary. A 12-Year Night is based on a true story, taken from Mauricio Rosencof and Eleuterio Fernadez Huidobro’s memoirs Memorias del Calabozo. The narrative is built around the 4,323 days when three leftwing urban guerrilla members (Tupamaros) lived in confinement in Uruguayan prisons. This is a superb visual story about persistence and resistance. The script adaptation is both surprising an captivating.

Some people might assume that A 12-Year Night is a conventional political drama about a small South American country with which few people are familiar. They are wrong. This is a deeply sensory experience. You will feel every emotion as if you were one of the film characters. You will get goosebumps, profound emotions, and feel plenty of revolt and indignation. You will also learn a lot about the military dictatorship that ruled Uruguay from 1973 to 1985.

Helmer and scribe Alvaro Brechner’s third film reconstructs an dark political chapter in Uruguayan history without resorting to tawdry political propaganda. His focus is on the individuals rather than the nuts and bolts of Uruguayan politics. The narrative allows audiences to connect to the dilemmas of the protagonists, and their intense suffering. The empathy is immediate. The sounds and the visuals are very effective, particularly in the hallucinations and cross-cell communication by the means of knocking on the walls. The military regime does not intend to annihilate the three men: “as we can’t kill them, let’s drive them mad”, a prison ward clarifies.

Mauricio Rosencof is played by the rising Argentinian star Chino Darin (the son of Ricardo Darin). Later in life, Mauricio became the culture secretary for Montevideo. Fernandes Huidobro, El Ñato is delivered by Alfonso Tort. Pepe Mujica is convincingly interpreted by Antonio de La Torre. Mujica became the 40th president of Uruguay and governed between 2010 and 2015. He was affectionately described as “the poorest president in the world”, given his demure and down-to-earth lifestyle. He’s the subject of another film premiering right now in Venice, Emir Kusturica’s El Pepe, A Supreme Life.

The movie does not investigate the political landscape of Uruguay, but instead raises awareness of the methods used by the military in order to remain in power. It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of international human rights laws, and how their disregard could lead to perverse and inhumane – even diabolical – experiments. The director uses both humour and poetic devices in order to illustrate the darkness of an authoritarian regime.

Above everything else, this is a wake-up call to the threat to democracy that many South American countries – such as Brazil and Argentina – are experiencing right now.

A 12-Year Night has just premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival. Below is a video of the standing ovation it received, as captured by our dirty writer Tiago Di Mauro.

And here is the film trailer:

"Filthy genius movie"

By Tiago Di Mauro - 03-09-2018

By Tiago Di Mauro - 03-09-2018

Based in London, Di Mauro is an experienced Director and Producer with extended training in Film Curating. He has worked in short films, documentaries, TV, adverts, web shows and music videos. In 2020...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Another year has gone by, and DMovies is [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]

Read More

Upon Entry

Alejandro Rojas, Juan Sebastián Vásquez

Liván García-Duquesne - 27-11-2022

US border officers put young Spanish woman and her Venezuelan partner through the wringer, in a deeply dehumanising interrogation procedure - dirty gem premieres in the First Feature Competition of the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival [Read More...]

Amar Colony

Siddharth Chauhan

Liván García-Duquesne - 27-11-2022

A tale of repressed eroticism unfolds between the tenants of a dilapidated apartment in this strikingly original Indian debut – from the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival [Read More...]


José Luis Rugeles

Paul Risker - 27-11-2022

Biopic of celebrated Columbian singer and songwriter Joe Arroyo uses fiction in order to get close to the captivating truth behind the man - from the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *