Helle Nächte

Bright Nights
Austrian civil engineer Michael lives with his girlfriend in Berlin. For years, he has barely had any contact with his 14-year-old son Luis. When Michael’s father dies the two nonetheless travel together to the funeral which is held in the remote north of Norway. At the deceased’s secluded home Michael begins to pack up his late father’s personal items – watched in silence by his son. Two people who barely know each other are suddenly caught in an intimate situation. After the funeral, Michael surprises Luis by suggesting that they spend a few days together exploring the region. A road movie begins that is also a journey into their non-existent shared past. Being together turns out to be more difficult than expected. Never having spent any time with each other on a daily basis, they have trouble handling their relationship. Whilst Michael glosses over this situation, Luis can't hide how hurt he is. His father’s long years of absence stand between them like a wall. When they are in the car together it feels like the calm before a storm. During the long days of the summer solstice, days when the sun never sets, Michael tries to break the repetitive cycle and find a joint way forward.
by Thomas Arslan
with Georg Friedrich, Tristan Göbel, Marie Leuenberger, Hanna Karlberg
Germany / Norway 2017 German, English 86’ Colour


  • Georg Friedrich (Michael)
  • Tristan Göbel (Luis)
  • Marie Leuenberger (Leyla)
  • Hanna Karlberg (Cecilia)


Written and Directed by Thomas Arslan
Cinematography Reinhold Vorschneider
Editing Reinaldo Pinto Almeida
Music Ola Fløttum
Sound Design Jochen Jezussek, Christian Obermaier, Tormod Ringnes
Sound Andreas Mücke-Niesytka
Production Design Reinhild Blaschke
Costumes Anette Guther
Make-Up Krisztina Szántó-Konthur
Assistant Director Cavo Kernich
Casting Ulrike Müller, Nina Erdahl
Production Manager Elisa Fernanda Pirir
Producers Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber
Co-Producers Maria Ekerhovd, Svein Andersen, Kjetil Jensberg
Commissioning Editor Andrea Hanke
Co-Production mer FILM Bergen
FilmCamp Overbygd
WDR Köln

Thomas Arslan

Born in 1962 in Braunschweig, Germany. He studied film. Since his feature film debut Mach die Musik leiser (1994), Thomas Arslan has screened films at the Berlinale several times, including Dealer (1999), Der schöne Tag (2001), Aus der Ferne (2006) and Im Schatten (2010) at the Forum, amongst others. He has been a professor of narrative film at Berlin’s University of the Arts since 2007.

Filmography (selection)

1994 Mach die Musik leiser; 87 min. 1997 Geschwister – Kardeşler; 82 min. 1998 Dealer; 74 min. 2001 Der schöne Tag (A Fine Day); 74 min. 2005 Aus der Ferne; 89 min. 2007 Ferien; 91 min. 2010 Im Schatten; 85 min. 2013 Gold; 101 min. 2017 Helle Nächte; 86 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022