Love, Death & Moonlit Walks
Shot entirely in black and white, Walking At Night is the fourth and final episode of Persona, depicting the final moments between a deceased woman and her partner in his dream.
The episode opens with a dreamy black and white establishing shot of an empty street. A man and woman walk slowly together, in love and blissfully unaware of everything around them. After some playful banter, the two sit down to eat at a nearby restaurant where the conversation turns to more serious matters. As they discuss love, death and dreams for the future, the woman announces she’s actually dead.
Holding back his tears, it turns out the man is dreaming and if he cries, he’ll wake up. Pondering over whether to ask her about the moments before she died, eventually he caves and she tells him about those final moments. The episode then ends with one final embrace as the two say goodbye for the last time before the man inevitably wakes up.
The idea to shoot this episode entirely in black and white actually works surprisingly well here. It certainly reinforces the dream-like nature of the episode too. There’s a good use of lighting here as well, with fading and pulsing lights adding some depth and sophistication to each scene. Seeing the two silhouttes walking along a street or the lights brightening when the man and woman discuss matters close to the heart, really adds some artistry to the episode and props to the Director of this one for shooting in this way as it works perfectly.
Of course, much like the other episodes here, Persona is quite the acquired taste and is much better to analyse at a deeper level than take on as a simple story.Walking At Night is one of my favourites from this collection, combining bittersweet tones of regret and sadness with a hopeful look to the future and ideas on tackling grief. As a straight forward story, there’s not much here that hasn’t been done better elsewhere but the aesthetic and slick camera work should be enough to keep you watching through this one.