Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:16 pm 
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Portrait of a new generation

Unfortunately it can be said as it has that All These Sleepless Nights, the meandering new Polish youth film, is the movie Terrence Malick has been trying to make for the last ten years. Also true that the occasional voiceover echoes early Wong Kar-wai. Yes, there are some echoes of French New Wave. A central plot line can make you say the words "Jules et Jim." There's the Proustian celebration of the trivial you get in Karl Ove Knausgaard. But you can likewise call this a tasteful, beautiful reality TV show: the filming is remarkably fluid and seamless - director Michal Marczak and his sidekick are young mini-Lubezkis - and the three main characters, Krzysztof (Bagiński), Michal (Huszcza), and Eva (Lebuef, Marczak's ex) use their own names and are being a version of themselves. They're living a year of Warsaw EDM house parties, drugs, booze, and cigarettes where nobody gets very messed up, in and out of touch, changing apartments (all nice ones).

For some, this can be tedium. All it has is fluidity and beauty - but that's a lot. It's nothing really but parties and electronic music, dancing, smiling, laughing, not sleeping, falling in and out of love. No one seems to have a job, no one gets very unhappy. No one makes plans. It's youth, and they're squandering it in their own enjoyable ways. Need we watch? Well, as an opening quote about the "reminiscence bump " says, people remember this time more than any other, and here's a chance to remember it anew more vividly and prettily through watching other people.

Particularly Krzysztof, the main character, with his thin frame, bee-sting lips, Grecian profile. Think of him in white shoes, with white T shirt, sleeves rolled up. When a girl asks him two thirds of the way through, "What do you do?" we lean forward eagerly, to find out. "I search for something," is all he'll say. "I keep on searching." So that's all he's going to tell us. He's obviously acting in this movie. He obviously likes to dance, and he does it well, waving his hips, his arms, his head, lithe, graceful, but just having a good time. He smokes too much, drinks, and does the occasional blunt or line of coke. Once early on he and his best mate Michal (Huszcza) drop acid and we flow with them all night on that. None of this hurts: they're all on the early end of twenty. But this is a portrait of Krzys: if you stay this close to somebody for this long, you get the vibe. His spirit is light. He smiles a lot, giggles a alot. I'm sorry: I'd like to be as wise and smart as Noam Chomsky. But I'd like to be Krzysztof Bagiński.

This is the achievement of All These Sleepless Nights. You don't have to have a plot if you can take you inside another consciousness. Michal Marczak paints with the camera as if it were a brush.

All These Sleepless Nights/Wszystkie nieprzespane noce, 100 mins., debuted at Sundance Jan. 2016; two dozen other festivals throughout the year and 2017; release in Los Angeles and San Francisco 7 Apr. 2017, in NYC 14 Apr. TRAILER.

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

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