‘Ghost Tropic’: a long night yet a surpassing sense of peace

The depths of night in a city — the hours between, say, midnight and dawn — have their own community, their own sense of time. If you’re awake, you’re probably working; if you’re working, it’s because you have to; if you have to, you’re possibly an immigrant, taking jobs the native-born can afford to sleep through. The streets are empty yet there’s a solidarity of night clerks and custodians, security guards and cab drivers; young people breaking free of parents and bedtimes. The minutes stretch out like Silly Putty. Anything can happen, or very little.“Ghost Tropic,” available as a virtual screening via the Brattle Theatre, is a movie where very little yet a great deal happens. The third film from the Belgian director Bas Devos, it’s about a cleaning lady crossing Brussels by foot in the frigid wee hours, trying to get home. In her journey, she meets other denizens of the night, and their interactions are filled with hesitancy and hope. That’s it; that’s the movie. It gave me a greater feeling of peace than I’ve had in months.Saadia Bentaïeb in “Ghost Tropic.”Cinema GuildIt’s also very slow, as befits a film unfolding in the lost hours. You have to adjust your metabolism to its somnolent pace. You know how when you’re very tired, you can find yourself staring at an object for a very long time? That’s the first shot of “Ghost Tropic”: a small, homey living room at sunset, slipping incrementally into darkness. A prelude.We next see Khadija (
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