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Berlinale 2017: Helle Nächte by Thomas Arslan

By Martha Sigargök-Martin | Festivals

Feb 21


Review by Martha B. Sigargök-Martin, 21.02.2017
In a site office, Michael (Georg Friedrich, Silver Bear for Best Actor), a construction engineer, stares into the blank space. Later, he talks on the phone in his apartment with a woman who happens to be his sister. She doesn’t want to go to Norway for the funeral of their father. He lived there for the past years. Michael hasn’t seen him in a very long time. He doesn’t seem to be very close to his girlfriend, Leyla (Marie Leuenberger), either, who wants to spend one year in Washington D.C. for work.
When he goes to Norway, Michael takes his son, Luis (Tristan Göbel), with him. The two don’t see each other much either, which is ironical and to be expected at once. Michael wants to rebuild his relationship with Luis, who punishes his father by showing no interest.
The purist filming of Thomas Arslan fits the magnificent landscape of Norway. Helle Nächte is composed of many shots from the car. The long way, which father and son must go to find each other is symbolized by the long shots of the roads as it presents itself from their point of view.
A captivating shot of the road takes place after father and son have a real confrontation, and therefore, their first genuine exchange. The alienation of Michael and Luis is underlined by the fading of the background noises and the interminable way that leads to the top of the mountain. You wonder when this shot is going to end. The fascination leaves room for a slight irritation. After a while, it changes into a hypnotic state. You must look at the asphalt, wounding and dancing in front of your eyes. Finally, you wake up in a thick fog, wrapping the two characters.
Between the incisive and funny comments of the angry teenager and the helplessness of his orphan parent, you will love the silence and the mesmerizing sounds of the composer Ola Fløttum.

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About the Author

Hello there, I'm Martha, a tenacious optimist, multi passionated human being obsessed with improvement and breakthroughs. I'm a pain in the ass when it comes to accepting status quo and I love inspiring films and books because they go to the depth of our feelings, have the power to change perspective and sometimes to heal.

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