Closing Time

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    Closing Time

    Directed by

    Germany, Switzerland


    116 min

    • Chinese
    • Taiwanese


    Mr. Kuo and his wife Mrs. Lin cook for the city’s sleepless. They work all night and sleep during the day, like many others in buzzing Taipei. Until one morning, riding back from the market, Mr. Kuo takes a different exit on the highway… CLOSING TIME is a cinematographic meditation on in-between moments – a kaleidoscopic journey relying on colours, sensations and the materials of life. An attempt at capturing time, an exercise in just seeing.


    • Special Jury Prize (Filmmakers of the Present), Cinelab Award - Locarno Festival


    Labels & Line Ups


    Nicole Vögele
    Stefan Sick
    Hannes Bruun
    Kevin Drumm
    Alva Noto
    Jonathan Schorr


    Nicole Vögele invites us to look at everyday life through the prism of the night. Everyday actions, work, relationships, everything turns shrouded in darkness. Closing Time makes us savor the poetic frenzy of a city that never sleeps, a parallel world where the monotony of everyday life turns into poetry.

    Muriel Del Don, Cineuropa

    The meditative nature of the film plays out in the colors, sounds, animals, storms and purple twilight skies, ever-present in the sleepy world of its characters. The camera rarely moves, and entire scenes play out in one Super 16-lensed sequence shot.

    Jamie Lang, Variety

    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.

    Guy Lodge, The Guardian

    '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 cloud has cracked open and cantankerously torrenting rains has compelled the stillness of night to dance to its tune. The insomniac roads have sprawled in the heart of Taipei, and dreams, well, they should be left untouched.

    Nafees Ahmed , High on Films

    The film is a showcase of their minds and souls, the working class allowing the city to function because they are expected to. 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 that never for a moment becomes pointlessly indulgent.

    Richard Bolisay, Swiss Info

    Nicole Vögele

    Nicole Vögele


    I am trying to create a space where all those things we don’t know about being human may echo. My aim is not to provide answers with my films, but rather allow the viewer to delve into a sea of questions, thoughts and emotions.

    Nicole Vögele was born in 1983 in Gretzenbach (Switzerland). In 2002 she got her first job at the Swiss National Television. Over the last 15 years she has been working as a journalist and reporter for several programs. At Swiss TV she started making documentaries. In 2010 Vögele enrolled at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy studying documentary filmmaking. Her first short MRS. LOOSLI was awarded at Visions du Réel in 2013. Her second short INTO THE INNARDS, an experimental mountain essay, has been screened at DOK Leipzig the same year. In 2014 she finished FOG which premiered at Berlinale where it received an honorable mention. The experimental documentary was shown at numerous festivals such as Visions du Réel, Locarno, Festival dei Popoli, DocBuenos Aires. In 2018 Vögele’s first feature length film CLOSING TIME premiered in the Cineasti del Presente competition at Locarno Film Festival where it received the Special Jury Prize and the Cinelab Award.

    Selected Filmography