All These Sleepless Nights
Directed by Michal Marczak
Review by Andrew Cole
There may be a word to describe the pure blss of realizing exactly where you are, being so aware of the current moment, you let yourself be suspended, living without any weight.
Trying to describe ATSN is akin to trying to describe a nameless monograph. A picturesque portrait of a world existing in a realm between reality and fiction, one that each and every one of us wishes we could inhabit.
Everyone does it. We all browse instagram and reddit, looking at the highlights of life spreading across the entire world, people living in places we want to live, eating in restaurants we want eat, living experiences we want to feel. We view these moments with an almost childlike and optimistic mix of futurestalgia and a very soft sadness. The melancholy of looking at photos of houses you will never live in, streets you will never walk, imagining an entire alternate reality where that place is apart of your routine life, and with a small hope and expectant hope that it might become a reality.
The film mainly concerns itself around the year long exploits of a young man and his large and extensive group of friends. Literally wandering around the streets of Warsaw, talking, dancing, smoking, drinking, reflecting on the both the absurdity of the time they live and the acknowledgment these moments in which they find themselves in are fleeting. They are currently in the middle of what they will reflect on, later in life as the “good old days”. A carefree time, before the weight and responsibility of working life creeps in and destroys their family like and ‘in the moment’ atmosphere
This film is not something that should be discussed in terms of me writing out, describing to you the sequences that moved me most and made me feel alive. No. To describe them would do a disservice to a film that in itself is so much about the discovery. The discovery of something new everyday. There is a moment when you just wake up each mornings, that minute when you are awake but still kind of asleep and the weight of life hasn’t crept in, you float, and for that moment your mind is the most clear it will be all day. This film is that moment spread over almost two hours. This film is purely something to be discovered, you should not read about the plot or read about what the group actually does because it would ruin the entire mystique of what makes this film so worthwhile
Every actor in this film is credited as himself or herself, a reassurance that these nameless bodies that inhabit Warshaw during this contemporary period of human history have enough body and soul to blend into a large rhythmatic, culture heap that feels like a bomb, waiting to go off.
Floating around, the camera isn’t concerned with pinning you into a single moment, trying to dictate your experience like a tour guide, but instead leads like a friend, bringing you in, showing you everything and giving you every experience allowing you choose which direction you want to go in each sequence. Almost completely opposite of Malick in which the images are forced into a direction to manipulate how you feel, here we are given each side of every image. The camera doesn’t care if something is completely opposite tonally than what has just preceded it because like life, its not constrained to a single emotional accent. There is nothing that is trying to be said but there is more than enough to listen to.
This is one of the most enjoyable films I have seen this year, and having watched it over ten times, with each viewing I am still memorized but how much I wish I could feel this alive. It may all be an illusion, it may be empty to some, but its something that feels right.