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764 Ratings

Bright Nights

Helle Nächte

Directed by Thomas Arslan
Germany, Norway, 2017


A father tries to rekindle his relationship with his son after years of absence and lack of communication. He takes him on a car ride across northern Norway, hoping it is not too late.

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Bright Nights Directed by Thomas Arslan
Arriving like a breath of fresh air five days into the 67th Berlinale, Thomas Arslan’s Bright Nights salvaged what was by all accounts was another typically lacklustre Competition lineup. Perhaps it was the film’s crisp Nordic setting and perpetually sunny exteriors, but Arslan’s latest, with its unassuming setup and undemonstrative tenor, felt, if nothing else, directed by a consummate artist unafraid to let the work speak for itself.
March 24, 2017
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As someone who has spent the last dozen or so years working on the films of the Berlin School – and has taken great pleasure in doing so! – I was keenly aware of my sense that Arslan’s film may be driving into a dead-end. Yet, the film’s central moment of trance-formation subtly seems to have left its mark on me, for I have kept thinking about it, re-sensing it: the beauty of its ineffable and indescribable affective force that exceeds whatever the plot, as far as there is one, is about.
March 17, 2017
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The premise of someone thus crippled by guilt is familiar to the point of cliché, but Arslan’s treatment is exceptionally understated… Compare it to a film like the monstrously overhyped Manchester by the Sea, which eroded its narrative’s impact through excess – why is it necessary for a man to get drunk and kill his three children in a fire to introduce a theme as universally relatable as regret? Arslan avoids all such extravagance in favor of… a very gradual accumulation of meaning.
February 16, 2017
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