Thursday, April 13, 2017

Youth in Warsaw: bored and a bit boring

The Polish movie, All These Sleepless Nights, makes its point about the hollow lives of Warsaw 20somethings early and then makes it again and again -- and yet again. This dreamy drift of a movie involves real people playing themselves, but doesn't qualify as a documentary. The movie mostly shows scenes from the lives of two friends (Krzysztof Baginski) and Michal (Michal Huszcza). The movie covers a year of nocturnal wandering through the city, as Krzysztof and Michal party and smoke cigarettes. One night seems to fade into another: The movie's only plot development occurs when Krzysztof begins a relationship with Eva (Eva Lebuef), a woman who used to be Michal's girlfriend. Tension develops between the two men, who begin as roommates but drift apart. Krzysztof's off-screen narration makes attempts at philosophical musing, but the movie's greatest achievement may be an inadvertent one. This generation is too young to remember either World War II or even the great liberation from Soviet oppression in 1989. The young people we meet spend no time talking about politics nor do they seem interested in establishing meaningful careers. Krzysztof senses that his life is empty and perhaps even realizes that finding a healthy relationship isn't necessarily going to fill the void. Director Michal Marczak never hurries through any of this. Clearly, those living lives of booze, drugs and hanging out won't be able to sustain it forever. But what comes next? The movie -- and we -- can't be sure. It's this kind of context that gives the movie whatever meaning it manages to convey. Otherwise, All These Sleepless Nights proves a rather unrelenting test of audience endurance.

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