Inside the dark recesses of the mind, we all have memories that scar us. Sometimes nations have this also. For Britain it is slavery, Germany the second world war and much of what the Nazi’s stood for or did. SLEEP, released by Arrow, has this in abundance. So much so that almost every extra cant help pointing out this rather obviousness and or making a case for it. The story of Marlene (Sandra Hüller), a flight attendant whose dark dreams of a deadly hotel, leave her visiting the place and succumbing a nervous breakdown, might not sound the obvious link to the most terrible past but as her daughter Mona (Gro Swantje Kohlhof), begins to investigate the hotel and the town of Stainbach, an idyllic village with a horrid past, we see the connections build.

Trauma is the name of the game in SLEEP. Delayed, genetic (read Epigenetic if you are of the bio genetic or evolutionary biology field). Much is made of the ‘themes’ of fear and repression by Kim Newman & Sean Hogan rightly, but I felt overwhelmingly that it was about carrying trauma. The obvious links to Mario Bava or David Lynch aside, I saw a lot of the works of Bunuel, Dogme 95 confrontational urges, German new Wave of Herzog and Fassbinder and modern masters like Amat Escalante and Carlos Reygadas. All of these challenge perception of space, time and memory in their films. Often asking us to assess the information with an imperfect set of  information entries that make up a whole. Michael Venus advances some of this and eventually achieves a catharsis that the great Alexandra Heller-Nicholas gets in her piece about the film and its legends. Also to note, Anton Bitel, who is very much love or loathe in his work, injects the films essay with a layered discourse on German history and the films less than subtle confrontation of it.

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original DTS-MA 5.1 audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Audio commentary by film critic and historian Kim Newman & author Sean Hogan
  • A Strange Dark Magic, a visual essay by film scholar Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
  • Sleepwalking through National Trauma, a visual essay by film critic Anton Bitel
  • Dream & Folktale in Sleep, an interview with anthropologist, dream researcher, and filmmaker Louise S. Milne
  • Talking in their Sleep, director Michael Venus and star Gro Swantje Kohlhof in conversation
  • A Dream We Dream Together, a compilation of film festival introductions created during lockdown by director Michael Venus and the cast of Sleep
  • Making Dreams Come True, a glimpse behind the scenes of Sleep
  • Deleted Scenes, four deleted scenes
  • Marlene’s Sketches, explore the many obsessive dream journal sketches that are only glimpsed in the film, created by artist Christoph Vieweg, presented here in full
  • Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Oink Creative
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Alison Peirse, an interview with director Michael Venus, and Brothers Grimm fairy tale “Frau Trude”
  • Double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Oink Creative

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