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Dark Nights: Simenon and Cinema

Friday, August 9, 2013
8:45 p.m. Red Lights
Cédric Kahn (France, 2003)

“The brilliant, sinister French thriller Red Lights is a twisty road movie in which every sign points toward catastrophe.”—Stephen Holden, New York Times

“A pitch-perfect, paranoid fantasy.”—Amy Taubin, Film Comment

In Cédric Kahn’s taut, stylized, suspense-laden adaptation, a husband and wife’s holiday excursion to pick up their two children from summer camp devolves into an endless road trip whose twists and turns include nightmarish traffic, unexpected detours, and missed turnoffs. Fueled by alcohol imbibed at numerous pit stops, the irritable husband (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) bickers with his wife (Carole Bouquet), giving his feelings of inferiority free rein. Red Lights doesn’t stop there, but adds the threat of an escaped convict, driving the husband to confront his masculinity crisis. Simenon’s 1953 novel was set on the East Coast of the United States; Kahn’s lost highways span from Paris to Bordeaux.


—Kathy Geritz

• Written by Kahn, Laurence Ferreira-Barbosa, Gilles Marchand, based on the novel Feux rouges by Georges Simenon. Photographed by Patrick Blossier. With Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Carole Bouquet, Vincent Deniard, Alain Dion. (105 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From New Yorker Films)