True/False: ‘All These Sleepless Nights’ is artsy but blank

“Secret Screening Tangerine” goes public.

When I went to go to “Secret Screening Tangerine” late Sunday night, one of the last films of the True/False Film Fest, it was announced that it was no longer a secret screening. Rather, it was a film titled “All These Sleepless Nights.”

This film, directed by Michal Marczak, was about Krzysztof Baginski, a Polish art student who finds love and meanings of life from long nights full of partying, rhythmic dancing and drug use.

Let me tell you: I didn’t get any of that from the film — I got it all from the summary I found online. I left the theater confused, not even knowing who a majority of the characters were or why some people were introduced but served no actual purpose and were never mentioned again. There was no plot and the movie could not keep my interest.

As my roommate Whitney aptly put it: “Their life is like one cologne commercial after another.”

Don’t get me wrong, the filming was beautiful, but the film had no clear substance. Krzysztof and his girlfriend Eva Lebuef laid in a field, grass brushing their face while electronic indie music played loudly in the background. The camera followed Krzysztof around Poland as he got wasted, fell in love and broke up with girls, all separated by erratic jump cuts and hard editing.

In one scene, Krzysztof is dancing (though I feel like writhing is a better word) in the middle of traffic as cars whiz by, seeming as not to notice the boy in the middle of the street. In another, the camera is only inches away from the face of a naked girl asleep in Krzysztof’s bed.

This movie was like a John Green novel on steroids — young people saying unnecessary deep things that no teen would every really say. It began with Krzysztof’s thoughts on life, but his philosophical narrative spanned throughout the movie. At a big outdoor party, Krzysztof’s best friend Michal Huszcza lights a cigarette, rocking back and forth to the music. Krzysztof’s voice dubs in, talking about the collective breath of people smoking at the party, but in a way that made it seem ridiculous and fake. After lighting his millionth cigarette and doing a line of cocaine, Krzysztof says, “I’m afraid I’ll drown in the present.”

This movie was hazy and unclear. It didn’t ever introduce any characters, context or a fully fleshed out story. Krzysztof was not a likeable main character and the confusion of constantly trying to figure out what was going on distracted from the film itself. This movie, though aesthetically beautiful, required too much thought and discussion to be worth the effort.

At one point in the film, Krzysztof sits in a park wearing a pink bunny suit, talking into a microphone. He compliments women as they walk by. “Nice legs” he says to a woman who walks by with her family. Another woman offers him candy, calling him “Mr. Bunny.”

As the sun came up after another hard night of partying, I wondered whether Krzysztof had a job or if his main occupation was just partying. At the Q&A after the film, Marczak confirmed that the cost in life in Poland was so inexpensive that they could afford to do nothing all day.

After having sex, Krzysztof and a girl he met at a party sit on the floor as the sun rises. “What now?” She asks.

He looks back at her blankly. “I don’t know.”

MOVE gives “All These Sleepless Nights” 1.5 out of 5 stars

Edited by George Roberson | groberson@themaneater.com

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