A Twelve-Year Night (2018) – Movie Review

A Twelve Year Night - 2018 - Movie Review - Cinecelluloid

The historical drama “A Twelve-Year Night” follows the 12-year-long incarceration of Jose “Pepe” Mujica and two other members of Tupamaro movement, who were jailed by Uruguay’s military dictatorship from 1972 to 1985.

Originally titled in Spanish as “La noche de 12 años”, “A Twelve-Year Night” has Won the Best Film at the Cairo International Film Festival and was selected as Uruguay’s candidate for the best foreign language at the 91st Academy Awards.

The film is an emotional journey that narrated the real-life story of three Uruguayan political prisoners, who played key roles in the country’s left-wing movement. The story is inspired by Mauricio Rosencof and Eleuterio Fernadez Huidobro’s memoirs ‘Memorias del Calabozo’.

The storyline of “A Twelve-Year Night” starts in 1973 when three members of the left-wing urban guerrilla group (Tupamaros), including future Uruguayan president José Mujica, are taken hostage from their jail cells in a secret military operation.

They were put in solitary confinement in order to break their determination and persistence to fight for their cause. The order was to drive them mad, as they were not supposed to be murdered under the state of emergency that had the potential to further the labor unrest.

During the 12-year-long isolation, they were transferred to different prisons and almost had zero communication with anyone, except for momentary meetings with their family members.

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“A Twelve-Year Night” is probably one of the finest survival films where we’re introduced to much resolved and highly determined true-life characters who certainly have their purpose in life. While the film’s premise is based on Uruguayan politics, the focus was only on the individuals – hence it can be watched in that respect and not the overall political movement.

A Twelve Year Night-Movie-Still
Antonio de la Torre as José Mujica in “A Twelve-Year Night”

The political chapter in the 60s and 70s Uruguay was more to do with the labor unrest because of the economic crisis that gave rise to the National Liberation Movement with an eye toward a peaceful political resolution of the country’s state of affairs. However, as the government used force to suppress labor disputes, the Tupamaro movement adopted more radical moves.

The narrative of the film shows glimpses of brutality and violation of human rights by the military junta. The movie does not really show much of the violent methods in the prison cells rather it is the mental torture these men went through that forces us to think and connect with the characters. Some visuals, including the appearance of the characters and the condition of the prison cells, allow us to connect to their sufferings.

Nevertheless, “A Twelve-Year Night” (La noche de 12 años) with its incredible performance by its key cast, tempts us to think of the freedom we enjoy these days, no matter which country or place we live in. While the film is a hard truth of the troublesome time, it also shows some positive forces in terms of the compassionate doctor who helps Mujica and even the love and support of his loved ones.

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Watch “A Twelve-Year Night” Movie Trailer

Director: Álvaro Brechner
Genre(s): Drama, History, Crime
Starring: Antonio de la Torre, Chino Darín, Alfonso Tort, Soledad Villamil, César Troncoso, Silvia Pérez Cruz, César Bordón, Mirella Pascual, Nidia Telles and Eduardo Recabarren.
Runtime: 122 min
Release: September 20, 2018 (Uruguay)

“A Twelve-Year Night” is now streaming on Netflix with English subtitles. If you have already watched the movie, please let us know your review in the comment section below.

Where to watch A Twelve-Year Night (2018)
This post is written, edited and published by the Cinecelluloid staff.

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