A year and change after Victoria comes Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau’s Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo, the latest entry in the burgeoning subgenre of “sexy young Europeans have adventures in real time on the quiet city streets after meeting in an after-hours nightclub.” But where the 138-minute Victoria was an action movie shot in a single take and which meandered too much in its first hour, the more character-driven and satisfying Paris 05:59 is a tight 90 minutes, mostly in very long takes with largely unobtrusive editing (except for occasional subjective inserts). For the picture’s first 20 minutes, young hunks Théo (Geoffrey Couët) and Hugo (François Nambot) connect amid some anonymous and extremely graphic fucking and sucking in an all-male sex club around 4:30 a.m.
They then get to know each other — and deal with the immediate aftermath of their impulsive meeting — on the street of Paris for the remaining 70 minutes. Though other recent foreign films have featured scenes set in sex clubs, Paris 05:59 best captures how different the world looks when you emerge before sunrise, the giddiness of making a truly personal connection in an intentionally impersonal environment, and the beauty that can be found in the darker corners of human behavior if you aren’t presuming you’ll find light.
Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo
Not rated. Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.