Polish director Michal Marczak delves into the wonderment of youth in this outstanding semi non-fiction work which won him the prestigious Best Director Award at Sundance Film Festival in 2016. Produced by Pulse Films, All These Sleepless Nights focuses on two male friends as they restlessly roam the streets of Warsaw, drinking, smoking, taking drugs and falling in love.
All These Sleepless Nights takes its audience into an unparalleled journey of self-discovery and hedonistic excesses whilst managing to make a strong, yet unbiased commentary about Polish millenials. The film opens with 20-something Krzysztof (Krzysztof Baginski) watching fireworks from his apartment window and wondering about life and things yet to come. After a break-up with his long-term girlfriend, Krzysztof makes a pact with his friend Michal (Michal Huszcza) to enjoy life without limits and to let destiny take them wherever it chooses to. As they walk around the city, as if walking through a series of tableaux, the two find themselves crashing parties, attending raves, making fresh acquaintances and new enemies. Things however turn sour when Krzysztof is introduced to Michal’s ex girlfriend Eva (Eva Lebuef). The two soon embark on a passionate affair which leaves Michal wondering about his own relationship with them.
Marczak chose to base his story on his actors’ own experiences and relationships, which in turn allowed for the beautifully nuanced dynamics between its protagonists. As the characters fall in love, fall out and then make up, there is a sense of charming camaraderie between them, even when they resent each other. All These Sleepless Nights more than borrows from French New Wave, it openly references films such as Jules and Jim (François Truffaut, 1962), Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) and other poetic, existentialist works from the ’60s. With a soundtrack imbued with classic French pop from the same decade, including the brilliant Tout ‘les Garçons et les Filles’ by the legendary singer Francoise Hardy. The film plays with themes revolving around love and youthful adventure.
Using several outdoor locations and shooting mostly in gentle morning twilight, Marczak manages to produce something of unequalled beauty. The film might, at times leave its audience feeling as if they’re looking in from the outside, but in no way does this make it less enjoyable or indeed less believable. The film is sure to strike the right chord with audience members of the same demographic as those on screen, but there’s plenty more to discover for those who are a little older. All These Sleepless Nights is a brilliantly filmed and fantastically executed production by a director who is sure to make his mark in the next few years to come.
You have the opportunity to catch All These Sleepless Nights on Wednesday March 29th at the Barbican (in London), followed by a debate with the filmmaker. Just click here for more information about the event plus watch the film trailer below – in case you’re still wondering what’s the best thing you could do Wednesday evening!