By Don Simpson | September 11, 2015
Director: Florian Gottschick
Writers: Florian Gottschick, Carsten Happe, Janina Aufdermauer
Starring: Anna Grisebach, Benno Fürmann, Vladimir Burlakov, Kai Ivo Baulitz, Gudrun Ritter
When the 40-year-old Anna (Anna Grisebach) brings her much younger lover, Stefan (Vladimir Burlakov), to her childhood home, she does not expect her past to haunt them quite so menacingly. Anna seems to believe that she ran away from this now dilapidated East German town years ago, purposefully leaving all of her memories behind. But just as the nature around her family house is uprooted and skeletons are unearthed from their graves, Anna’s reappearance forces her to dig deeply and closely examine her life.
Anna and Stefan spend the weekend in the quaint rural cottage with Anna’s old friend, Bernd (Benno Fuehrmann), and his boyfriend, Marc (Kai Ivo Baulitz). As with most films in which the protagonists stay in a secluded location for a few nights, the house serves as a pressure cooker of emotions and sexual tensions. Being that Marc is a well-respected psychiatrist, he enjoys observing the other players, often interjecting himself into the proceedings to further stir shit up. They are mere pawns for his heady amusement.
After a while, Marc’s psychological pontificating seems to lead to a physical manifestation of…well…something. The narrative slowly begins to circle in towards itself, creating a dizzying repetition of events that allows Anna a unique opportunity to observe things from another perspective. The final act of Florian Gottschick’s Bright Night might be a bit confusing, but its creepiness is equally perplexing and alluring. No matter what, Bright Night is sure to conjure up curiosity about its psychological musings.
Bright Night screens as part of the 28th annual Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF). For more information, check out the aGLIFF Program.