Nightwatch is a comedy about the human search for purpose. It exposes the contradictions we make as we craft narratives of meaning for our lives, leaving the question with the viewer what purpose it is really worth investing in. The story is about four volunteers at a nature trust are sent out once again to try and catch one of the last insects able to survive in the changing climate: the Adonis Blue butterfly. This is a very important mission, because the world needs insects as pollinators. However, in their experience, finding the butterfly is a hopeless case; so far, they have never succeeded. So on their search, a conversation about the purpose of life begins rolling, distracting them. In an argument, they accidentally chase away the butterfly, which would have been within reach. We are left with the character’s frustration, their chance for meaningful achievement having slipped through their fingers.
The story this film alludes to is the parable of the Ten Virgins, which can be found in Matthew 25, 1-13. Jesus tells this parable to illustrate humanity’s attitude to the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven: at it’s dawn, some of us are found well prepared, ready to join the celebration, while others are not. Be ready, is the appeal, even though the wait could be longer than you expect. Do not loose focus for what really matters, otherwise you will regret it when the time comes. In my opinion, this parable is highly relevant today. Everyone seems to be busy constructing and buying into narratives of meaning-making. But through all this busyness, we loose sight of the true purpose set out for us: being ready for the Kingdom of Heaven. The nature trust lends itself as a device, because it highlights the core of the problem: while the mission is very important, it is everything but glamorous, making it easy for the volunteers to loose passion for it. In our view, the Kingdom of Heaven is often an abstract and faraway concept. It is hard to keep reminding ourselves of its significance.