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Bright Nights

After the death of his father, civil engineer Michael travels to Norway with his own son. Their relationship is difficult, they don’t talk a lot, fog hangs over the mountains. A road movie about speechlessness and fatherhood.


The father is dead. After engineer Michael (Georg Friedrich) is introduced in short, silent shots, he sits at his desk on the phone and talks to his sister whose birthday he forgot once again. Michael tells her the news without a lot of emotion and with a glass of whiskey in his hand: a heart attack, typical. We will learn later that he was a difficult man.

The son is alive. Michael is a father to a son, which we find out by an abrupt cut to an airplane headed to Norway. The father had a house there and Michael and his son Luis (Tristan Göben) are traveling there. We quickly learn that their relationship is strained.

Thomas Arslans new film is a road movie about speechlessness and fatherhood that builds more and more tension the longer the two protagonists travel across the deserted Norwegian landscapes. Like the fog in the mountains, the family conflict between Michael and Luis keeps wafting closer to an eruption, but it never lead to a discussion. Cinematographer Reinhold Vorschneider often films the pair in the gentle moments of lying next to each other during sleepless nights because the sun doesn’t want to set. Encounters with third parties have no consequences, we keep seeing the captivating scenery from the car –peaceful nature representing an empty promise because looking at it doesn’t make up for guilt, anger, or disappointment.

HELLE NÄCHTE is a scaled down and focused film, with imagery that knows how to replace a formulaic plot and is increasingly effective the more it becomes clear that language between the characters has to remain ineffective.

Toby Ashraf

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Helle Nächte
Deutschland/Norwegen 2017, 86 min
Genre: Drama, Roadmovie
Director: Thomas Arslan
Author: Thomas Arslan
DOP: Reinhold Vorschneider
Montage: Reinaldo Pinto Almeida
Distributor: Piffl Medien
Cast: Georg Friedrich, Marie Leuenberger, Tristan Göbel, Hanna Karlberg
Release: 24.08.2017



  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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