EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally wrote about this movie on November 2, 2021 when it was offered on the Arrow Player. Now that Arrow Video is releasing it on blu ray, we’re sharing it again.
The new Arrow blu ray release of Sleep features an audio commentary by film critic and historian Kim Newman with author Sean Hogan, visual essays by film scholar Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and film critic Anton Bitel, an interview with anthropologist, dream researcher, and filmmaker Louise S. Milne, a conversation with director Michael Venus and star Gro Swantje Kohlhof, a compilation of film festival introductions created during lockdown by director Michael Venus and the cast, behind the scenes footage and deleted scenes, a trailer, an image gallery and even a feature called Marlene’s Sketches, which allows you to explore the many obsessive dream journal sketches that are briefly shown in the movie. You can order Sleep now from MVD.
Tormented by recurring nightmares of a place she has never been, Marlene becomes tormented by the idea that this place could be real, so she has a breakdown. Her daughter Mona follows the same path her mother was on and ends up in Stainback, a small village with a big secret and a population as obsessed as her mother.
The Sonnenhugel Hotel leads to ultra-vivid dreams for both mother and daughter, dreams of the suicides of multiple men and visions of strangulation. Meanwhile, the kindly hotel owner Otto actually dreams of bringing Germany’s power back in ways that are frightening in today’s political climate.
Michael Venus has only made shorts before this, but this is a confident blast to the brain filled with murder, strobing lights and abrasive metal when it isn’t about long and languid dreams of death.