A film by Mikhaël Hers

Cast : Charlotte Gainsbourg, Noée Abita, Emmanuelle Béart, Quito Rayon Richter

drama / France / original title : LES PASSAGERS DE LA NUIT / Color / status : completed / French / long feature-film / International collections

On election night in 1981, celebrations spill out onto the street and there is an air of hope and change throughout Paris. But for Elisabeth, her marriage is coming to an end and she will now have to support herself and her two teenage children. She finds work at a late-night radio show and encounters a troubled teenager named Talulah whom she invites into her home. With them, Talulah experiences the warmth of a family for the first time. Although she suddenly disappears, her free spirit has a lasting influence. Elisabeth and her children grow in confidence and begin to take risks, changing the trajectory of their lives.

Mikhäel Hers (Amanda, Venice 2018) paints a beautifully detailed and nuanced portrait of a Parisian family and of a mother, tailored for graceful Charlotte Gainsbourg, who repairs over time.

creative europe media


“Mikhaël Hers reveals tenderness and attention to illuminating detail in The Passengers of the Night. The pleasing delicacy of the principal thread, about newly single, careworn fortysomething Elisabeth (Gainsbourg), is captivating. The overall effect, and the enormous fondness the director shows for all his characters, makes for satisfying drama. Gainsbourg is at her most enchanting. There’s a richly multidimensional character portrait in Gainsbourg’s luminous performance. The performances are faultlessly natural and there’s an affecting generosity of spirit to the way Hers observes his characters. It’s a credit to Hers’ contemplative, never intrusive observational style that by the end of the film we know them intimately.”

The Hollywood Reporter - David Rooney

“Hers’ follow up to his acclaimed Venice prize-winning drama Amanda is a gentle, optimistic, wafting piece of storytelling which zeros in on seemingly inconsequential but intimate moments in the lives of the family at its heart. Beguiling.”

Screen - Wendy Ide

“The Passengers of the Night’s positive attitude and teen antics have unshowy charm. Always engaging and tender. Like Hers’s previous film Amanda, this is a calm, sympathetic drama about family. A likably unassuming and easygoing movie. Emmanuelle Béart gives her most assured performance for a while.”

The Guardian - Peter Bradshaw

“A panoramic, novelistic, decade-spanning portrait of a French family pulling together through troubled times. A love letter to the Paris of yesteryear. Gainsbourg is always a magnetic presence on screen, her hypersensitive emotional antennae forever twitching on the edge of tearful breakdown.”

The Film Verdict - Stephen Dalton

“The Passengers of the Night really strikes a spectacular chord is in its writing and the performances of its central cast. Gainsbourg leads the charge in her performance as a single mother thrust into the grip of a fast-changing world – a real tour-de-force in her dominance of every scene she graces. Likewise, Abita and Richter give exceptionally mature performances as characters who become more emotionally intertwined with the passing of time, once again proving their talents and status as rising stars of the future. Dreamily endearing as it takes on its relatively simple concept, exploring how we grow as individuals over time and how some bonds are thankfully everlasting. Enough to move viewers to tears. An exquisite blend of beautiful dialogue and cinematic splendour that makes this French film a dainty dream-like voyage that is all the more delightful. The score is a floating, gorgeous triumph that sweeps viewers off their feet in an absorbing warmth. Setting a film in Paris during a decade such as the 80s opens up a treasure chest of opportunities when cinematography, costume design and soundtrack are concerned. Visually, one sees 80s Parisian suburbia in all its glory, brought to life once more thanks to the hard work of cinematographer Sébastien Buchmann, who, through stunning transitions, allows the audience to witness seasons and the passing of time.”

The Upcoming - Guy Lambert ★★★★

“Casualness is an art. Hers constantly evokes the flair of the eighties, he literally wraps you in an eighties atmosphere, works with filters and melancholizes Paris with washed-out, roughened pictures.”

Tagesspiegel - Christiane Peitz

“Hers has turned in a truly great film that will catapult him out of the cinephiles niche. An heir to the great master Éric Rohmer, Hers shows the full spectrum of human emotions, from falling in love to breaking up, from loss and new beginnings, in a poignant and elegant way - all guided by the unshakable conviction that nothing is ever truly hopeless.” - Jochen Werner

“Hers further refines his airy, delicate and sensitive style with a magnificent existentialist film about a few years in the life of a small Parisian family in the 1980s. He has become a master in the art of transcribing the unspeakable feelings of life, the fragments that weave ordinary (and universal) destinies. A dive into the intimacy of a family to which the film offers the vast setting of Paris, the romantic temporality of a plot spanning seven years, and some very fine roles for a cast perfectly led by Charlotte Gainsbourg. Drawing a portrait of life and the passing of time, Hers marvelously depicts all the micro-emotions of the present feeding the uncertainties of the future, human strengths and weaknesses in their greatest simplicity, the density of emotional ties. With a very fine sense of contained atmospheres and small, essential digressions, the filmmaker has created a work that is profoundly touching, almost timeless.”

Cineuropa - Fabien Lemercier

“Filled with a vibrant soul. Nostalgia is everywhere and has never been so invigorating. All these layers give breadth and depth to the simple story of a family coming-of-age, brilliantly centered on the sensitive Elisabeth, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg – more graceful than ever. It is the immense talent of Mikhaël Hers to know how to invite in his spectators an unshakeable confidence in such incredibly human heroes.”



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