Director Yasemin Samdereli worked through doubts about her own marriage by making a documentary about long-term relationships and what makes them last.
The magic ingredient for maintaining a lasting, loving romantic relationship is still a mystery. What keeps people together? Why do so many marriages and partnerships end in separation? German director Yasemin Samdereli’s first feature length documentary, The Night of all Nights, aims to get to the root of these seemingly unanswerable questions.
Samdereli follows four international couples who have been together for more than 50 years. German couple Hildegard and Heinz — Samdereli’s grandparents — got married in 1960; Shigeko and Isao, a Japanese couple, have been married since 1951; Kamala and Nagarajayya, from India, married in 1961; Bill and Norman, an American gay couple, first met in 1962. Within formal interviews, each share intimate stories about their relationship and their struggles to maintain a personal connection.
Samdereli cites two major inspirations for the project: first, her grandparents. She shares, “They were so young when they got married. They had no sexual education at all, so they didn’t know anything about the physical side [of marriage]. That was one aspect of my curiosity.” The other aspect was that Samdereli had recently been married herself. “I had just gotten married, and it wasn’t going well. I was unhappy and thinking about divorce already.” In her period of doubt, she investigated different couples who had been married for a long time. “I wanted to talk to people who had been married for 50 years and try to see what it is that keeps people together. I wanted to examine this very complex thing called love.”