Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
Original vision and cinematic flair were the winners when Polish filmmaker Michał Marczak took the directing prize for international documentary at Sundance. His surprising film is no standard documentary. Opening with a reference to the ‘reminiscence bump’ – the notion that one’s 20s loom large in ageing memories – and determined to honour (Godard-quoting) Polish youth culture before it completely Americanises itself, Marczak chose to distil his own time and place while he still belonged in the party scene himself.
Capturing and imparting this very particular end-of-youth vibe, he immerses us in the long summer nights of a set of post-grad 20-somethings in Warsaw. Shot in sumptuous, fluid widescreen by Marczak, its soundtrack richly tooled in post-production, with the dialogue re-recorded and music added to buoyant effect, the film is unabashed in its embrace of ‘artifice’ to get to the truth. Two friends, Krzysztof Bagiński and Michał Huszcza play themselves, manoeuvring through two summers’ worth of all-night partying, woozy dawns, hook ups, banter, drug-fuelled blather, philosophical speculation – and mutual sheepishness when one of them takes up with the lively ex-girlfriend of the other.
“There is little sense that he’s trying to tell us something larger or more significant or, lord forbid, connect partying and pathology; he knows exactly who these people are, and he likes them… The music is excellent throughout, the vibe cheerily debauched without trying too hard to emphasize Magic Moments, and the effect thoroughly enjoyable.” — Vadim Rizov, Filmmaker