On my first day at Dawson College almost 30 years ago I was introduced to a motley assortment of characters that made up the school’s Cinema/Communications department (quite a culture shock for someone whose elementary and high school classmates were predominantly ethnic Greeks). None stood out more (literally) than a large, verbose fellow student from Côte St. Luc with an extensive knowledge of movie trivia that surpassed even my own (no small feat) named Saul Pincus. Although only a teenager he already knew his way around a Super 8 camera and moviola, having spent his adolescent years making short fiction films with his cousins and friends. After CEGEP we both ended up at Concordia’s Communications program, where he continued to impress faculty, staff, pupils, and yours truly with his work ethic and an aura of maturity and professionalism well beyond his years (despite the fact that he is actually younger than me).
Not long after graduation Pincus moved to Toronto (how rare!) where he worked on TV series like La Femme Nikita, and soon became a respected editor and consultant in the entertainment industry, most notably working with director Sidney J. Furie. Now Saul Pincus’ full-length feature film debut, Nocturne (awarded the prize for Best Film at both the New Jersey International and the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festivals) arrives on DVD, Digital and VOD.
Pincus served as co-producer (with Joel Hay), co-writer (with Mitch Magonet), editor and director on this absorbing tale of an insomniac (Mary Krohnert) who becomes obsessed with a sleepwalker (Knickoy Robinson) while trying to come to terms with her own traumatic childhood, piecing together a mystery surrounding a scheming co-worker (Andrew Church), and dealing someone from her past (Marcia Bennett).
Nocturne director Saul Pincus (right) discusses a scene with actors Knickoy Robinson (left) and Mary Krohnert (centre) while filming on the streets of Toronto. (Photo: James Belardo)
Nocturne moves at a smooth, steady pace (no surprise given the director’s editing background) with amazing visuals (each frame is like a masterfully crafted photograph), an entrancing score by Raiomond Mirza, and skillful performances from the talented cast.
People (like myself) often dump on or dismiss the Canadian motion picture industry as second-rate and unremarkable; lame and without any true matinee idols or box office draws; not well-respected around the world with cinephiles and critics alike. Nocturne dispels a number of those notions. It is daring but not inaccessible; original but not ridiculous; intelligent but not pretentious. In other words, what every indie production should aspire to be.
(Forgive me for borrowing a line from ‘90’s coming attractions, but…) In a world where we are bombarded with banal 3D comic book-based adventures and imaginationless fare punctuated with huge explosions at our tacky, oversized and deafeningly loud casino-like movie theatres, it is nice to see a film about two adults trying to deal with problems without the fate of the universe in the balance and a score by Danny Elfman.
If you are not going to make a blockbuster, at least make a good, ambitious film. And Nocturne is a good, ambitious film.
Nocturne will be available on DVD, Digital and VOD starting February 7th, 2017.
Watch the trailer on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Lo4C8vopwWE