Clubbing Films To Bring The Nightlife Scene to Your Home Screens

Missing Beaverworks and need something more than Boiler Room’s live streams to keep the memories of the rave alive? Sarah Mortimore reviews four films that will put you back in the middle of the dance floor in no time.

Eden (2014)
Directed by Mia Hansen-Love

Image Credit: Mubi

Take a vicarious trip to early-nineties Paris as you follow French teenager Paul rising through the underground scene, in this gritty drama full of romance, breakdowns and addiction on a journey to DJ fame. While it’s a bit gloomy and won’t necessarily leave you on a high, its full of melancholia and doesn’t try to glorify the inevitable difficulties of such an eventful career choice. Also, if you study French, call it homework.

Beats (2019)
Directed by Brian Welsh

Image Credit: IMDb

A coming-of-age story set in 1994 Scotland, the film occurs against the background of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act which effectively illegalised outdoor mass raves and gatherings in the UK (feel familiar?). Following 15-year old best friend’s ‘Spanner’ and ‘Johnno’ as they attend one of the biggest illegal raves in their area, the plot navigates the strength of their fragile friendship, as they share their love of banging techno, and inevitably tick off a few ‘first times’ along the way. Shot in nostalgic black and white and brought to life with a lengthy, psychedelic scene in-colour, it feels fresh and real, but also offers moments of escapism. Full of humour, schoolboy silliness, but also underscored with some important social and political messages, if you’ve only got time for one night out (in front of the telly), Beats is the best on the list.

Limelight (2011) 
Directed by Billy Corben

Image Credit: New York Times

This documentary charts the rise and fall of famed 80/90s club owner Peter Gatien, the nightclub ‘emperor’ who owned a string of NYC’s biggest establishments. 

It tells the classic rags to riches tale of Gatien’s climb from denim salesman to club mogul, whose legendary nights attracted the likes of George Michael and Jay Z. Like Eden, it doesn’t sugar-coat the fun of the club business, navigating stories of AIDS, suicide and even dismemberment, eventually arriving at Gatien’s imprisonment after a tax evasion scandal. It’s an exuberant watch, packed with the colourful, often sleazy scenes characteristic of Gatien’s dancefloors, it offers a peek into the veiled world of NYC’s celebrity-endorsed nightlife. Produced by Gatien’s daughter, it does inevitably hold back a little on his personal life.

Ibiza (2018, Netflix)
Directed by Alex Richanbach

Image Credit: Netflix

This film is really rubbish. It follows Harper, your typical 30-something American, suit-wearing business-woman who is sent on a work trip to Barcelona. Naturally, she meets famed Ibiza DJ played by Richard Madden and goes wild and falls in love because film characters always fall in love with a DJ’ing Richard Madden. This one shouldn’t really even make the list because there aren’t enough club scenes or good tunes in it, but given I made myself watch it, it warrants a write-up. Perhaps this would be a good watch for the day after the night before, whenever that comes around.

Image Credit: The Independent

Sarah Mortimore