CLOSING TIME: PRESS
"Swiss documentary-maker Nicole Vögele’s Closing Time is a beguiling exercise in life-in-ellipsis observation, following a nocturnal rice-restaurant owner in bustling central Taipei after a spontaneous decision to disrupt his routine."
The Guardian (GB), 08/2018
"In this beautifully structured film, Vögele uses poetic images that occupy the nocturnal time and space, the old and young, the people and animals, the plants and insects, the presence and absence, the light and darkness, the movement and stillness, the music and silence. It is an elegiac work of intense beauty."
Swissinfo.ch (CH), 08/2018
"Closing Time is a poetic and awe-inspiring journey through an apparently unchanging day-to-day life. [...] Everything is magically transformed when it is shrouded in darkness. Closing Time allows us to savour the poetic frenzy of a city that never sleeps, a parallel world in which the repetitiveness of everyday life is converted into poetry."
"A beguilingly composed contemplation of non-stop society and nightlife in the metropolises."
Tagesanzeiger (CH), 08/2018
"Vögele’s film is a genuine gem. It feels as though she continues where Tsai Ming-liang had left off."
The Art of Slow Cinema, 05/2019
"Through exceptional editing work (Nicole Vögele and Hannes Bruun) we also experience the slow emergence of several narrative lines, until the construction of a story that unfolds around the figure of Mr Kuo, the cook of the small night restaurant. We then move from the experience of time suspension - a typical nighttime phenomenon - to the (re)construction of another time in which day and night are inverted."
filmexplorer.ch (CH), 08/2018
"Our society, Vögele reminds us, is nothing but a system for our use and consumption: the forces that regulate the universe are outside it, and we can not control them."
Nonsolocinema (IT), 08/2018
"A nocturnal kaleidoscope in the streets of Taipei. Beautifully photographed, director Nicole Vögele shows us the most diverse facets of Zhongzheng Street at three in the morning. Without commentary, we experience very intensely how the residents and workers of this street define themselves through their work - mechanical functioning in a small space. A very coherent and atmospherically dense film."
Maximum Cinema (CH), 08/2018
"Like many who reside in the sleepless corners of Taipei, Kuo and his wife work all night, serving the nocturnal in a small restaurant. The film is a cinematographic meditation that perfectly captures the poetry of an ordinary life and the inexplicable connections between drifting souls."
Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (CA), 02/2020
"Time itself may be the film’s ultimate subject, as with a calculated composure and an editing that foregrounds repetition Vögele views each and every place, thing, action, sound and movement with equal interest, whether it’s a restaurant owner cracking eggs or chopping vegetables, elderly women exercising at daybreak, an uprooted tree in the wake of a typhoon or a sad dog in search of his vanished owner. [...] The poetry and beauty that Vögele finds in the city streets and in a late foray into nature show us that there’s more to life than work."
Locarno Film Festival (CH), 08/2018
"A contemplative and poetic film about night time and what it makes out of us humans."
Deutschlandfunk Kultur (DE), 08/2018
"Closing Time opens a time portal to the lyrical mundanity of quotidian characters in the stillness of the night. Highly meditative and sedately paced, Closing Time is a poetry in motion, an intense mood piece. It’s an awe-inspiring travel through the passage of time, where the sky has turned purple. [...] The third act gives a whole new dimension to the film, also acts as a wake-up call for us who are embroiled in our real life. Nature and the world have so much to offer, and instead, we have tricked ourselves in an ordered time loop of modern slavery to make it our own reality."
High on Films (US), 08/2018
"Night work is portrayed in Vogele's essay film as a never-ending, gruelling cycle, a process without beginning or end. (...) There is a danger of dependency, the complete appropriation of the human being in a post-capitalist society of performance."
Filmbulletin (CH), 08/2018
"Finally, nature also tries to assert itself again and again as the protagonist in this city film, in which the night covers everything with darkness or sleepy blue. It tugs at the protagonists and the concrete of the Taiwanese capital Taipei with wind and rain, trying to lure them out of their somnambulistic, nocturnal daily hustle and bustle."
Cinemabuch (CH), 09/2018
"Closing Time" preoccupies itself with discovering glimpses of humanity in an environment that is at best monotonous, at worst dehumanizing. [...] It’s a soft critique aimed at the lasting effects of European imperialism, of how Asian states have been forced to radically change in a globalized era according to rules beyond their control. In this light, the characters’ ultimate refuge amidst nature comes across as a larger, more ambitious metaphor than initially meets the eye. It’s also a symbolic return to their origins, beyond the lasting political traumas that have shaped their lives."
Kinoscope (US), 09/2018
"In "Closing Time" Nicole Vögele takes us to nocturnal Taipei - her tableau-like insights into the parallel world of night workers develop an irresistible attraction."
First Steps Award (DE), 09/2018
"The images are strong because they are reduced to everyday street scenes. To this, director Nicole Vögele mixes endless sounds of big city traffic, crickets or fans, which contribute a unique and idiosyncratic sound to this poetic cinema of senses."
Berner Kulturagenda (CH), 03/2019
"With its long and calm shots, the documentary creates a hypnotic effect over time. The consistent staging makes the night seem even more oppressive. Just like the main character Kuo, one longs for the sun and is often disappointed. It is a thoughtful film about the beauty of everyday life."
Outnow (CH), 03/2019
"In Closing Time, it is the gaze that binds together the observations of the experience of unprofitable, difficult work, the attempt to make a living in the conditions of savage capitalism, and the merciless conquest of nature by a civilisation of mindless consumption."
Zawieszony (PL), 09/2018
"The beauty of the images captured with patience and precision on photosensitive film, the harmless discussions or the revealing silences of passing customers or local regulars, follow one another like haiku to form a tableau vivant on a human scale."
Nova Cinema (FR), 07/2019
"Nicole Vögele's second feature film is cinema at its purest."
Tagblatt (CH), 12/2019
"An absorbing fusion of observational documentary and audiovisual artwork, Swiss director Nicole Vögele’s prize-winning second feature is a masterly exercise in slow cinema. Mr. Kuo and Mrs. Lin run an all-night diner on a busy corner in Taipei, serving food to the city’s night workers and party animals. With its meticulous focus on in-between moments and dreamlike urban moodscapes, Closing Time combines meditative beauty with a subtle, humanistic critique of capitalist workplace drudgery."
Galerie (US), 08/2023
"Nicole Voegele tells this incredibile beautiful lyrical story about at night in Taipei of a late-night eatery [...] This could be considered a hybrid type documentary, but I see it more as a poetic narrative within a lyrical story about a late-night eatery in Taipei. The owner of the restaurant and other characters enact a Zen exercise, observing customers’ isolation in the city, mostly at night.
Ed Lachman (US), 08/2023