The Big Night Bathe sets people who are drifting without a direction, tending to indulge their whims, against people who might -- but will probably not -- fall into the same pattern. Jeanne (Malgozata Braunek) and her ex-husband Willy (Youazas Boudraitis) head a group of profligates during a summer's vacation on the Black Sea coast. Several in the group are bored as a way of life and are close to intolerable to each other. Among them is the spoiled son of an important government official. Opposite in temperament, age, and character, is a pair formed by Sava, a young history student (Nikolar Sotirov) and Ninelle (Yanina Kasheva), his somewhat innocent friend. Before the events that were to mark the "big night bathe" in the minds of the protagonists forever, Sava has to suddenly return home to be with his dying mother. He is exempt from the group's folly, but Ninelle is not. After spending the afternoon in back-biting, the disparate members in the group eat crayfish on the beach, and then go for a midnight swim. It is just after the swim that the men are goaded into playing a macabre and dangerous game in which they stick their head in a noose while standing on a rock. When someone knocks the rock out from under them, they must cut the noose before it has a chance to tighten and either snap their neck or strangle them to death. One of the men does not make it. By the time the police have finished with their investigation, the death was deemed "an accident." Ninelle cannot tolerate the memory of what she has seen and leaves for Sava's village in order to unburden her grief. The reaction of the protagonists to the unnecessary death, and Ninelle's personal decisions, bring the issue of a "meaningless life" to the forefront.
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