sleep furiously View large image

Film Details

Directed by: Gideon Koppel

Produced: 2008

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: U

Length: 94 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 5 October 2009

Cat No: NW007

Languages(s): English
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sleep furiously

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Gideon Koppel directs this poetically-rendered portrait of Trefeurig, the small farming community in mid-Wales where he grew up. On a... Read More




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Gideon Koppel directs this poetically-rendered portrait of Trefeurig, the small farming community in mid-Wales where he grew up. On a practical level, the isolated rural community struggles for survival as the local primary school is threatened with closure, traditional farming methods are rendered non-viable and key services disappear - but the community spirit and strong connection with nature ensure that many of the more intrinsic aspects of the old way of life are kept alive. Reminiscent of the works of Dylan Thomas in its subtle portrayal of rural life, the film combines striking cinematography with an ambient electronic soundtrack by Aphex Twin to pay homage to the filmmaker’s birthplace and a way of life that could soon die out altogether.

Generous in its allowance of natural rhythms, sleep furiously is a subtle, elegaic documentary portrait of a community in west Wales, etiolated through farm sales and the closure of the local school.

Director Gideon Koppel was raised in the place that he pictures. His film is that of an incomer (even if born in a place one can be a lifelong incomer), taking refuge in an aesthetic born of exquisite reticence, and noting mundane and usually overlooked textures – breeze block kennels in concrete yards, rain dropping from a clothes line – and actions, such as a shearer replacing a comb on his sheep shears, a farmer shaking out straw bedding in a winter barn, or tracing arcs and serpentine curves in winter sheep feed, patterns discernible only from a distance.

Appropriately, this is a film haunted by shades. Koppel talks of Dylan Thomas as an influence, and his film is a sort of diurnal counterpart to Thomas's intermingled and rumbustious dream lives. It seems to me that sleep furiously portrays a place that - like much of the countryside in Britain - now needs re-dreaming.

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