When does a new city become home? Filmmaker Rosana Matecki considers this question in the short documentary Saturday Night. The film, which became available to stream for free from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) following its debut at TIFF last year, sees Matecki’s camera roam the streets of Montreal following the death of Leonard Cohen. As “Hallelujah” hovers on the soundtrack, the film discovers the soul of a city she’s come to call home.
The Venezuelan-Canadian director decides to explore the city further observing three Montrealers in a dance class and discovering what it means to grow older in a city in which she didn’t grow up. Matecki connects with old souls around Montreal and chronicles how characters like Nadia communicate with loved ones back home through video calls, staying close even though they’re half a world apart. Saturday Night examines the complex tapestry of Montreal and the role that culture and music—from Cohen to tango—allow one to feel a part of the city.
“The day they announced his death, I went shopping at the grocery store on the corner of my house, and that song [“Hallelujah”] was playing. When I returned home, it was playing all over the block. I arrived, and the radio was saying goodbye,” said Matecki in an interview with POV during TIFF. “It was playing like a mantra that Montreal gave its poet, a musical thread without interruption of all his songs. This lasted all weekend and it was sad but magical. There, I understood that the artistic perspective is a fundamental part of my evolution as a human, to understand my processes and my tests.
“Montreal is a city that has always made me feel at home. That is why I allow myself to question it about its distance, its loneliness. The resistance of many to understand that we need to leave our place of comfort to get closer to the other. You criticize what you consider yours, not what is foreign. I like to play with it, because I am one colour within all the colours of this city, and you have to look for the universal space in it, not look like it.”
Watch Saturday Night below from the NFB:
Synopsis: A short documentary essay on solitude, filmed in Spanish and narrated by filmmaker Rosana Matecki, Saturday Night offers a poetic and bittersweet snapshot of aging in an urban setting, viewed through the lens of dance. An immersive soundscape and a delicate tempo set the mood for this intimate exploration of resilience and nostalgia.