Anchored by four seemingly ordinary, older couples, The Night of all Nights makes a very strong case for why love is such an important part of life. While fairly light on exploring the depths of any of the relationships, the film is strongest when it punctuates levity with somber moments that reveal the cracks that couples try to mend. Those moments of frailty are what strengthen any relationship, and highlight just how anyone can stay together with a single person their whole life.
Each of the four couples that serve as the centerpiece have just recently had their 60th anniversary together — a feat that today’s generation just doesn’t see very often. Ranging from Germany to Japan to India to the USA, these four couples have all endured a lifetime together, and somehow stayed attached to each other. Much of The Night of all Nights is focused on the loving side of each of these couples, often avoiding the hardship that they might have faced — with the exception of the couples in both Japan and the USA. The American storyline follows two gay men who were only able to marry each other after five decades, before that having decided to adopt one another so they can be seen as a family. While a story like that would seem worth exploring, director Yasemin ?amdereli strays from a lot of the depressing content in order to present an abundance of happiness.
That bubbly facade is bolstered by tragicomic claymations of the couples done by Izabela Plucinska. Interspersed throughout, they show the relationships in a more humorous light, but also seem redundant in the grand scheme of things, as the subjects are already fairly humorous and entertaining. I immediately fell in love with the couple from India, as the two broach topics like sex and the crucial first date with an understanding that it’s all so detrimental to the DNA of their relationship.
Having great subjects is what makes The Night of all Nights enjoyable, but I do wish there was more of an attempt to delve into the darker parts of a relationship. Small disputes are uninteresting, but the big arguments — the ones that almost pushed a couple to dissolve — are the ones that help build a relatable relationship. Understandably, ?amdereli isn’t interested in bogging down the audience with specific issues that only affect the couple being examined. The Night of all Nights works because it tackles the foundations of a relationship more than its minutiae. However, that minutiae is just as important to a relationship working.
The Hot Docs Film Festival takes place from Thursday, April 26 to May 6. Visit the official website for more info.