Sleeping Beauty DVD
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Directed by Julia Leigh
Produced in 2011
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - Australasian Film
Mentored by Jane Campion, this controversial drama from Julia Leigh sees a woman drawn into a bizarre sexual underworld. Fans of Haneke and Breillat will be interested, says Nick Riddle.
Lucy (Emily Browning), a university student in Sydney, starts freelancing for an agency that provides ‘lingerie silver service’ for wealthy clients’ dinner parties. Soon she is offered a different kind of work: to lie in a drugged sleep in a panelled room while a much older man avails himself of her. No penetration or leaving of marks allowed; a ‘clean’ transaction, ostensibly, but the reality is, of course, more messy.
Julia Leigh’s directing debut (she is also an acclaimed novelist) has polarised audiences since it showed in competition at Cannes in 2011. Some have quailed at Lucy’s apparent blank passivity; but Leigh’s screenplay has her commit many acts of rebellion, large and small, against received notions of how she should behave. In this, she resembles many of the heroines in the work of Jane Campion, who mentored Sleeping Beauty.
The film’s best moments occur in quieter scenes that suggest how her new line of work is affecting her: for example, when she finds that she can’t bear to sleep naked in her own bed any more; or when she becomes both fascinated and horrified at seeing a sleeping woman on a train.
Sleeping Beauty isn’t always easy watching, but its enigmatic air and its cool European aesthetic - two parts Michael Haneke to one part Catherine Breillat, with the merest dash of Tinto Brass - make it an intriguing piece of work.
Nick Riddle on 16th January 2012
Author of 62 reviews
A provocative erotic drama mentored by Jane Campion, Sleeping Beauty sees a young female student drawn ever further into a sexual underworld.
Lucy (Emily Browning) is a young woman who works several part-time jobs. Her personal relationships are of a similarly shallow and fleeting nature; Lucy is alienated from her alcoholic mother and the closest thing she appears to have to a genuine friend is the self-destructive Birdmann (Ewen Leslie). When she applies for the role of 'Silver Service Waitress', Lucy is introduced to the bizarre world of Clara (Rachael Blake). Clara operates as the maitre d' of an establishment that caters to the eccentric sexual tastes of rich men. Lucy soon finds herself being drugged in order to play the role of 'Sleeping Beauty' and slipping into a world beyond her control.
Publisher: Revolver Entertainment
Length: 101 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 27th February 2012
Cat No: REVD2816
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