All These Sleepless Nights
Studio: The Orchard
Directed by Michal Marczak
Apr 12, 2017
If anything, All These Sleepless Nights may make you grateful you’re no longer young. Shot documentary style, the Polish film follows Krzysztof and Michal, two good-looking Millennials who inhabit a Warsaw where it’s perpetually dusk or dawn. They drift from party to party, dancefloor to dancefloor, drinking, doing drugs, and picking up girls. They get into the occasional druggy, philosophical discussion and one brief, passive aggressive pissing match over an ex-girlfriend, but mostly experience existential ennui brought on by their hard-going lifestyle. We see little of what they do during their daylight hours, or get any clue to how they’re able to afford their swank apartments or designer drugs; All These Sleepless Nights isn’t interested in anything that doesn’t involve or lead up to young people writhing to a throbbing bass line.
It’s absurdly stylish, though – the film’s earned comparisons to the French New Wave, and unlike so many young filmmakers who have tried to imitate it since, director Michal Marczak’s movie brings that same level of excitement in its audiovisual showboating. In most cases this would amount to all style and no substance, but in All These Sleepless Nights, the style usually is the substance. Almost any piece of visual or aural flair tells the audience more about our handsome blanks than their words: as Krzysztof wanders a crowded dancefloor, heavy breathing drowning out the soundtrack lets us know the anxiety he feels; at another point, the intense intimacy of a relationship is suggested purely through lo-fi handheld video that appears shot by our lead. It doesn’t always work – you’ll probably groan when a string and woodwind accompaniment suddenly swells around a character’s a cappella rendition of a tune from Pocohontas – but when it does, All These Sleepless Nights takes an otherwise non-compelling (and to some people, unappealing) premise and turns it into something so seductive to the senses that you won’t want to look away.
Author rating: 6.5/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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