Review: ‘Sleep Furiously’

Strikingly assembled and charmingly offbeat, Brit verite docu "Sleep Furiously" pays elegiac tribute to the fast-disappearing way of life of farmers in western Wales.

Strikingly assembled and charmingly offbeat, Brit verite docu “Sleep Furiously,” a feature-length debut for commercials helmer Gideon Koppel, pays elegiac tribute to the fast-disappearing way of life of farmers in western Wales. Though pic’s tone is far more poetic than polemical, its arty sensibility will endear it further to fest programmers. However, lack of aud-friendly storytelling or prominent “characters” will confine this to sleepier slots in the skeds of upscale broadcasters.

Shot (originally on Super 16) in and around helmer Koppel’s hometown, Trefeurig, the film unspools small vignettes of country life as the seasons pass. The helmer’s mother, for instance, walks her dogs. A man drives a mobile library into town to bring books to the locals. The community gathers to discuss the imminent closure of the village school. Glorious long-distance shots of people, sheep or farm vehicles moving through the rugged terrain make the landscape a character in its own right. Electronic score by Brit musician Aphex Twin and quirky editing by Mario Battistel keep the material from seeming too cutely pastoral, but also makes the film seem more rarefied and specialist.

Sleep Furiously

U.K.

Production

A Bard Entertainments, Van Film production. (International sales: Bard, London.) Produced by Margaret Matheson, Gideon Koppel. Executive producers, Mike Figgis, Serge Lalou. Directed by Gideon Koppel.

Crew

Camera (color), Koppel; editor, Mario Battistel; music, Aphex Twin. Reviewed on DVD, Hoveton, U.K., Aug. 6, 2008. (In Locarno Film Festival -- competing; also in Edinburgh Film Festival.) Welsh, English dialogue. Running time: 94 MIN.
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