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Ibrahim, a 14 years old Moroccan boy, walks down a road in the outskirts of a big city alone anddisoriented. Recently informed that he will be deported in two days, he packed his belongings andran away. He is now alone with no place to go.
Two couples spending some time visiting a country house from their past, sharing more than just stories from an old time but also bringing back to surface bitter memories, passions, curiosities, sexual tension and much more. First couple is Anna (Anna Grisebach) and Stefan (Vladimir Burlakov), who are buying the house from the second couple Bernd (Benno Fürmann) and Marc (Kai Ivo Baulitz). Fact is that Anna, at one time, was deeply involved with Bernd when they were teenagers; she was his first true love but something happened on the way, best leave out. In between nice dinners and lovely breakfasts, the present always finds a way to bring something dark and broody about the past; and during this minor chaos, Marc audaciously flirts with the clueless Stefan, paying no mind that his boyfriend is seeing (as later we discover, they have an open relationship). If from all that it seems the film has nowhere to go, well, it is actually. What triggers us in seeing is mostly to see how this quartet are going to survive through the weekend without killing each other or if the couples will indeed trade; there's some strange occurrences going on with objects falling and muddy footsteps to shake those characters nerves, and it'll get revealed in the end.
Writer/director Florian Gottschick and his co-writers created something good despite the uncountable clichés. It's a thoughtful drama that reveals how frail yet strong human relations are. Yet another story of the paradox of life. I didn't find that love was an important aspect of the film, or better saying, didn't find the characters were honest when they kept saying they loved each other (not blaming the actors, they're good. The lines as written weren't convincing), I didn't buy their love mostly being the light reflected in their partners eyes instead of actions - though Stefan seems the one who cares the most about the annoying Anna, he's genuine despite the naivety of youth, after all he's the youngest member of the quartet and the one who knew little about his own partner. In terms of displaying seduction, lust or just sex, the movie succeeds a little more. What bothered me is that a movie so open and frank about sexuality issues decides to portray the intimacy of a gay couple only through sounds while the straight is there for everyone to see (and no, the foursome scene from the poster is just for show. Beautiful photograph, but weirdly filmed when they moment came).
"Bright Night" has plenty of gripping elements that will generate the interest of the audience (the one who tends to like quiet moments and plenty of dialogs). What blocks the movie from reaching its full potential is the almost silly third act, as if taken from "Inception". Sure, this is the kind of film where odd things happen all the time, its expected to get those slightly unusual story treatments but those close to the edge scenes with Anna getting back in time seeing things from a difference perspective was just wrong. In fact, seeing most of the movie through her perspective is quite painful since she doesn't generate any kind of sympathy, she's filled with prejudice and tries to be thoughtful about everything. Had Bergman or Polanski writing this kind of story, he'd make something revealing (the setting is perfect, the house location), and they would use dream-like imagery or symbolisms that wouldn't affect the film's progress.
Whatever the case, the problems with "Bright Night" aren't bigger than its qualities. There's some good acting, it's very involving and the more stories the characters share about their past the more fascinating the film gets, it's all very intriguing, just losing the step at the final moments. Positively enjoyable, almost no harm. Gottschick just need to learn to widen his vision to present things, elaborate better scenarios and stick with the tension. 8/10
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