Michal Marczak’s camera follows Krzysztof Baginski through the city of Warsaw in the same way that Sofia Coppola’s followed Scarlett Johansson through Tokyo in Lost in Translation. The streets and buildings, the parks and cafes — they’re all a neon-lit playground for groups of 20-somethings to lose themselves in.
Krzysztof and his best friend Michal pass through days and seasons drinking, doing drugs, picking up girls, philosophizing, and, above all else, dancing. Krzysztof is coiffed like Poland’s answer to James Dean, his pompadour always standing poised at attention. He rolls up the short sleeves of his white T-shirt, never without a cigarette. As he dances, his body elongates, lending him a goofy sense of grace. Marczak frames his moving body with ardor, focusing on his eyes, his armpits, his lips, and his ass. Unlike Dean, though, the camera’s attention empties the emotion out of him. He and his friends live in a twilight world where the parties start at dusk and end at daybreak. No one has a job, and the thought of adulthood is nowhere on the horizon.
All These Sleepless Nights is a stream-of-consciousness ode to the beautiful and terrifying instability of an unformed youth. It’s also a paean to an Old World city that haltingly begins to open its doors to the 21st century.
All These Sleepless Nights
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.