IMDb > The Sleeping Dictionary (2003)
The Sleeping Dictionary
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The Sleeping Dictionary -- Open-ended Trailer from Fine Line


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Guy Jenkin (writer)
View company contact information for The Sleeping Dictionary on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 January 2003 (Mexico) See more »
Learn to speak her language.
John Truscott goes to Borneo to work with the Iban. He reports to Henry Bullard, who gives him a "sleeping... See more » | Add synopsis »
4 wins & 6 nominations See more »
(3 articles)
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User Reviews:
A puzzling film See more (54 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
Guy Jenkin 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Guy Jenkin  writer

Produced by
Simon Bosanquet .... producer
Frank Hildebrand .... executive producer
Jimmy Mulville .... producer
Denise O'Donoghue .... producer
Mark Ordesky .... executive producer
Chandran Rutnam .... associate producer
Charles Wang .... associate producer
Original Music by
Simon Boswell 
Cinematography by
Martin Fuhrer (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Lesley Walker 
Casting by
Mary Selway 
Production Design by
Simon Holland 
Art Direction by
Clinton Cavers (supervising art director)
Errol Kelly 
Set Decoration by
Judy Farr 
Costume Design by
Penny Rose 
Makeup Department
Mohamad Roslan Ahmad .... makeup artist
Saidatulnisa B.T. Aminuddin .... hair stylist
Jan Archibald .... hair designer
Carole Bennett .... hair assistant: UK (as Carol Bennett)
Nor Azmi Sham Bin Omar .... makeup artist
Barrie Gower .... special makeup effects artist
Mohammad Z.B.H. Hassan .... hair stylist
Noor Hawa .... makeup artist (as Noor Hawa Salam)
Sally Hennen .... makeup assistant: UK (as Sally Hennan)
Maureen Hetherington .... makeup assistant: UK (as Maureen Hedrington)
James Kho .... daily crew
Mohammad Z.B.A. Rahman .... makeup artist
Janah Binti Sayani .... daily crew
Eric Scruby .... hair assistant: UK
Lou Shepherd .... hair assistant: UK
Amber Sibley .... makeup artist
Anne Spiers .... makeup designer (as Annie Spiers)
Annie Townsend .... hair assistant: UK (as Anne Townsend)
Christine Whitney .... makeup assistant: UK (as Chrissie Whitney)
Production Management
Magen Appathurai .... unit manager
Ainsley De Silva .... production manager
Jack Deutchman .... post-production supervisor
Carla Fry .... executive in charge of production
Frank Hildebrand .... unit production manager
Robin Hollister .... unit manager
Jody Levin .... executive in charge of post-production
Rachel Neale .... unit production manager: UK
Frank Salvino .... post-production supervisor
Maria Walker .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Hairul Salleh Askor .... second second assistant director
Simon Bosanquet .... second unit director
Caspar Campbell .... third assistant director
Mark Egerton .... first assistant director
Sherard Jayasuriya .... second assistant director
Liz Legum .... second assistant director: UK
Gregory Stitt .... first assistant director: second unit
Art Department
Liew Ah Seow .... carpenter
Sibah Anak Rokeh .... props handyman
Ian Ango .... carpenter
Michael Appuhamy .... carpenter
Bidin Bin Hassan .... set dresser
Ibrahim Bin Jaragan .... set dresser
Charlie Wee Cheng Choong .... construction supervisor
Patricia Chung Lee Moi .... draftsperson
Adrian Cornelius .... art department assistant
Hannah Coupland .... assistant set decorator: UK
Edward Dissanayake .... dressing props
Lal Dissanayake .... greensman
Chow Foo Fa .... carpenter
Rohan Fernando .... carpenter
W.L.G. Fonseka .... carpenter
Jan Grosvenor .... propmaker
Jan Grosvenor .... sculptor
Brian Groves .... supervising painter
Lal Harindranath .... leadman
Gary Hedges .... stand-by carpenter: UK (as Garry Hedges)
John Hedges .... construction supervisor
Jode Ranjan Hettiyadura .... carpenter
Chin Sin Ho .... carpenter
Chong Hoi Peng .... carpenter
Douglas Ingram .... storyboard artist
K.D. Justin .... construction foreman
P.G. Kapunaratna .... painter
Foo Kim Sin .... carpenter
Chong Kim .... carpenter
Lionel Liyanage .... props storeman
Fook Loi .... carpenter
Chai Men Nam .... carpenter
G.T.R. Mendis .... carpenter
Nick Milner .... prop storeman: UK
Senaka Nawaratne .... draftsperson (as Senaka Navaratne)
Rob Nevis .... chargehand stand-by props
Tai Chong Ngui .... dressing props
Dyan Ong .... set dressing buyer
Raymond Perera .... carpenter
Salinda Perera .... carpenter (as George Salinda Perera)
Nihal Ponweera .... carpenter (as Sumith Nihal Ponweera)
Sunil Premaratine .... stand-by props (as Sunil Premaratne)
Manoj Priyantha .... painter
Paul Purdy .... property master
Mulvade B. Raius .... set dresser
D. Ranasinghe .... chargehand dressing props
Anuradha Ranjith .... painter
Percy Rodrigo .... stand-by painter (as K.A. Percy Rodrigo)
Priyanka Sanjeewa .... carpenter
R.K.G. Sathyapala .... carpenter
Don Satyananda .... painter
Pas Nihal Silva .... carpenter
Upali Silva .... carpenter (as Luxman Upali Silva)
Chong Mo Soo I. .... carpenter
Anthony Strong .... stand-by stagehand: UK
Alan Titmus .... supervising construction foreman
L.M. Ruwan Wijenundara .... stand-by carpenter (as Ruwan Wijesurendra)
Sunil Wijeratne .... assistant art director
N. Wijewardena .... dressing props
I-Lann Yee .... art director: second unit
Hugh Fottrell .... stand-by propman (uncredited)
Sound Department
John Bateman .... adr mixer
John Bateman .... foley mixer
Jonathan Bates .... supervising sound editor
Philip Bothamley .... dialogue editor (as Phil Bothamley)
Tim Cavagin .... sound re-recording mixer
Tony Cook .... boom operator
Rony Esher .... sound recordist
Mohamed Faisel .... sound assistant
Richard Fettes .... foley editor
Simon Firsht .... boom operator: UK
Pauline Griffiths .... foley artist
Ray Hathaway .... adr recordist
Alex Hudd .... sound consultant: dolby
Craig Irving .... sound re-recording mixer
Peter Ishaq .... sound recordist
Richard Jay .... sound maintenance: UK
Abdul Kader Sahib .... sound assistant
Mark Lafbery .... sound re-recording mixer assistant
Jenny Lee Wright .... foley artist
Nick Lowe .... foley editor
Colin Nicolson .... sound mixer
Steve Single .... sound re-recording mixer assistant
Alastair Sirkett .... sound effects editor
Alan Sutcliffe .... sound recordist (as Alan Sutcliff)
Bruce Wills .... sound mixer
Wendy Czajkowsky .... sync supervisor: Vancouver (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Rufus Alponso .... rain effects technician
Raymond Chia Soong Meng .... special effects technician
Thangiah Krishnamoorthy .... assistant pyrotechnician
Frankie Phang Mun Klat .... special effects technician
Tony Phelan .... special effects supervisor
B.R.C. Rajasiri .... rain effects technician
Ian Wingrove .... special effects supervisor
Visual Effects by
Mark Bakowski .... Domino operator
Angus Cameron .... visual effects supervisor
Andrew Jeffery .... visual effects coordinator (as Andy Jeffery)
Antony Hunt .... executive producer: Mill Film (uncredited)
Ray De-Haan .... stunts
Mark Lisbon .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Jean-Marc Alaux .... lighting balloon technician
M. Ariyaratne Perera .... rigging gaffer (as Ariyaratne Perera)
R. Athysayam .... electrical rigger
Sarah Bartles-Smith .... clapper loader
Muhamed Akmal Yek Bin Abdul Lah .... key grip: second unit (as Muhamad Ahmal)
Yek Bin Abdullah .... key grip: second unit
Shpinee Bin Ithnin .... grip
Ahmad Zyul Bin Zynooddin .... grip
Mohammad Sazali Bothman .... electrical rigger
Fred Brown .... rigging gaffer
Fande Sing Fung Chi .... camera technician
A.M. Ranjith Dissanayake .... electrician
Sam Garwood .... focus puller
Abdul Halim Omar .... clapper loader: "b" camera
Ahmad Harun B. Hamdi .... grip
Roy Heng Soong Seng .... video assist operator
Azman Bin Hitam .... grip (as Aidil Azman Bin Hitam)
Stuart Howell .... Steadicam operator
Stuart Howell .... camera operator
Selvan Kannan .... electrician
Bill Kaye .... still photographer
Lim Huat Kim .... clapper loader: "b" camera
Lim Huat Kim .... clapper loader: second unit
Surendra Kumar Thangavel .... best boy
Adam Lokman .... focus puller: "b" camera
Nihal Mallawarachchi .... electrician (as Nihal Mallawaarchchy)
S. Mohan .... camera operator: "b" camera
Mohd Jeffri Mohd Yusof .... focus puller: "b" camera (as Modh Jeffri Bin Mohd Yusof)
Mohd Jeffri Mohd Yusof .... focus puller: second unit (as Mohd Jeffri Bin Mohd Yusof)
M. Surreendran M. Muniandy .... electrician
Peter Myslowski .... key grip
Damith Nandalal .... electrician
Jagath Nissanka .... electrical rigger (as Nissanka Jagath)
Joe Sakol Palvanichkul .... generator operator: facility (as Sakol Palvanichkul)
Rohana Premachandra .... grip
Lalith Premalal .... electrician
Thilak Pushpakumara .... grip
Alex Scott .... gaffer
Sunram Sinnathamby .... generator operator
David Smith .... optical cameraman
Gary Spratling .... camera operator: UK
Sivakumaran Sreenivasan .... grip
Arumugam Subramaniam .... generator operator
Mani Kanthan Sunnasamy .... electrician
Gay Hian Teoh .... camera operator: "b" camera (as Teoh Gay Hian)
Gay Hian Teoh .... director of photography: second unit
D. Van Gramberg .... best boy (as Denham Van Gramberg)
Ganesan Veramuthoo .... electrician (as Ganeson Veramuthoo)
Dennis Watson .... rigger: UK
Sazuwan Zulkefli .... gaffer: second unit
Casting Department
Hairul Salleh Askor .... extras casting manager
Goh Sim Zee .... extras casting assistant
Sylvester Thomas .... extras casting
Fiona Weir .... casting assistant
'Kenneth' Yip Yong Jua .... assistant extras casting
Louis Elman .... adr voice casting (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Abang Abdul Halkim Abang Drashid .... wardrobe helper
Natarah B.T. Ahmad .... wardrobe helper
Annie Crawford .... wardrobe supervisor: UK (as Anne Crawford)
Mark Holmes .... wardrobe assistant: UK
Marlene Lawlor .... costume buyer
Jo Measure .... wardrobe set supervisor
Ali Mohamad .... costume maker
Mahmood Omar .... assistant to costume designer
Suzila Hanim Omar .... wardrobe assistant
Ameer Sahibjahn .... wardrobe assistant
Uz Taufek .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
Clive Bates .... trainee assistant editor
Claire Ferguson .... assistant editor: avid
Jeremy Hume .... assistant editor
Mike Stainer .... color timer
Royce Smith .... color timer (uncredited)
Music Department
Chris Barrett .... assistant score engineer
Paul Broucek .... music executive
Terry Davies .... conductor
Terry Davies .... orchestrator
Geoff Foster .... score mixer
Geoff Foster .... score recordist
Isobel Griffiths .... music contractor
Jake Jackson .... assistant score engineer
Erin Scully .... music executive
Lori Silfen .... music business affairs
Graham Sutton .... music editor
Rosemary Warren-Green .... orchestra leader (as Rose Warren-Green)
Bruce White .... viola
Transportation Department
Gary Birmingham .... transportation coordinator: UK
Gary Birmingham .... unit driver: UK
Upali Gunaratne .... transportation coordinator
Chanthara Mohan .... vehicle coordinator
James Pui Wei Chung .... transportation captain
Other crew
Shan Iman Abdullah .... location manager: second unit
Rael Abu .... facility assistant
Chris Allies .... title designer
Lylie Almedia .... accountant (as Lylie Almeida)
Claudette Almeida .... assistant production coordinator: Boston
Magen Appathurai .... location manager
Cassandra Barbour .... rights and clearances: Entertainment Clearances
Diana Beer .... contract administrator
Dana Belcastro .... production executive
Ramona Braganza .... trainer: Ms. Alba
Jack Carter .... controller: construction
Laurie Cartwright .... risk management
Gopi Darmaratnam .... Company Accountant - Sri Lanka
Patsy de Lord .... production coordinator
Chris Dhamodharan .... production assistant (as Chris Dhamohdaran)
Eugene Dior .... floor runner
Peter Eardley .... assistant accountant: UK
Jeff Egan .... production safety
Soon Lee Eng .... cashier
Sue Field .... script supervisor
Hugh Fottrell .... animal coordinator
Emily Glatter .... supervising production coordinator
Matthew Hassall .... stand-in: John
Wendy Hawley .... stand-in: Aggie
Law Moh Hiong .... location assistant
Mering Jasmine .... production secretary (as Jasmine Mering)
Withanage Mendis Jayasekera .... facility manager
Arriane Jayasuriya .... stand-in: Selima
Sara Keene .... unit publicist
Yeo Kheng Chiew .... production runner
Melissa Lai Wei Wei .... secretary to executive producer
Lone Friis Larsen .... stand-in: Cecil
Yin Nee Lee .... nurse: construction
Cecilia Malong .... coordinator: Bukhit Seban Hotel
Robert Malong .... assistant armorer
Alex Matcham .... production controller
Andrew Matthews .... financial consultant
Andy Maxwell .... floor runner: UK
Margaret Molnar .... researcher
Jennifer Mount .... risk management
Harry Naylor .... projectionist
Clive Noakes .... laboratory contact
Edgar Ong .... production assistant (as Edgar Ong Liang Yong)
P. Panjanathen .... assistant location manager
David Panzer .... production safety
N.G. Kim Poh .... assistant animal wrangler
Paul Prokop .... production controller
Justine Redfern .... assistant to producer
Leonard Sabu .... bearer organizer
Carl Schmidt .... armorer
Joy Scott .... floor runner
Dan Seekman .... legal coordinator
Julianna Selfridge .... risk management (as Juliana Selfridge)
Laura Sevier .... rights and clearances: Entertainment Clearances
Effenay Shahrul .... facility assistant
Sharan Jit Singh .... assistant armorer
Wannapa 'Gai' Sinthunawa .... assistant accountant
A. Premadasa Subasinghe .... craft service
Ramli Adbullah Suhaidel .... facility assistant
Robin Syawe Fiik Lai .... animal wrangler
Stephen Taylor .... production accountant (as Steven Taylor)
Samantha Thomas .... location manager: UK
Valerie Toh Yun Ling .... assistant to unit manager
Kirsten Wing .... assistant coordinator
Kirsten Wing .... contact: London
Rowena Wong .... floor runner
Wendy Zych .... production assistant: London
Stephanie Pecuch .... assistant: Dana Belcastro (uncredited)
Ileen Maisel .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for some sexuality and language
109 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Jessica Alba had a body double for her sex scenes.See more »
Continuity: When Selima and Truscott are given the turquoise bracelets, she takes Truscott's off and wears it. In the next shot, she gives him hers but she's still holding his.See more »
John Truscott:I want us to be happy.
Cecil:Then why aren't we?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008)See more »
East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
31 out of 45 people found the following review useful.
A puzzling film, 22 February 2003
Author: tprofumo from Los Angeles

The puzzle is, why did this film go directly to video and why isn't it a better film?

Fineline apparently relegated this to the video bins because of a crowded release schedule, but more likely because it had just one American star in it, Jessica Alba, and her TV series, "Dark Angel," had been canceled, meaning she no longer brought any "heat" to the project.

That's a shame, because this film is light years better than most direct to video releases.

While the plot is quite complicated, it is basically about a young Englishman, played by Hugh Dancey, who goes out to Sawawak (Borneo) in the mid-thirties to follow in his father's footsteps and bring the benefits of a good English education to the natives and headhunters of the region.

He needs to pick up the language, though, and thus is assigned a "sleeping dictionary" a fetching young local woman who will teach him the native lingo, while giving him an education in bed at the same time. While that may sound as contrived a plot as you could find, it is probably grounded in fact, and certainly grounded in solid, British upper class hypocrisy of that day, which, taking into account the fact that he'll be there for three years, sees no reason why he can't avail himself of the local talent to satisfy his sexual needs. In fact, when he initially rejects the beautiful Jessica Alba, they offer him a young man, he being the product of British boys schools and all that.

After a very brief period of conflict, Dancey and Alba fall head over heels for each other, decide they want to marry, and find themselves in hot water from that point on. The film goes on to rightfully bash British upper class racial prejudice, but never quite deals with the key issue facing Dancey's character. Does he ever catch on that the education he wanted to bring to the natives is the same education that says, one Englishman is worth a thousand natives?

Anyway, the film, written and directed by Guy Jenkin, is fairly well scripted, well directed and absolutely beautifully shot. Word is, it cost just $15 million, but it has the look of a much more expensive picture, definitely not some cut rate direct to video thriller. This is not some prison women in cages film shot in the Philippines.

There are some good characterizations here. Bob Hoskins starts out very strong as the cynical governor of this province, but then is very under utilized. Brenda Blethyn is fantasic as Hoskins wife, a manipulative upper class snob who is the real villain of the story.

But there are script problems here. Dancey and Alba fall in love far too quickly, skipping over a lot of character build up which would have made us care for them a lot more than we wind up doing. There is sympathy for them, though, because of the obvious class and racial biases in the British empire. But you get the feeling there are a lot of missed opportunities here.

Perhaps the biggest flaw the film has are its two stars, though. Dancey,pretty much unknown in America, seems only adequate to me. He brings no real passion to the role of the young idealist.

The real enigma, of course, is Jessica Alba. Although as beautiful as any young actress in Hollywood today, she has yet to prove that she can actually act, and with every successive missed opportunity, she is building up a body of work that says maybe she can't. Her first feature staring role was in a flic called "Paranoid," in which she was frankly just plain dreadful. She has had supporting roles in a couple of other films, but the pictures were so dreadful you couldn't hang much of the blame on her, except maybe in her choice of roles. Her big break came in the James Cameron produced TV series "Dark Angel," which got its wings clipped after two seasons. In it, Abla was forced to play a rather depressing character in a depressing show and she could not get deep enough into it to make it the kind of hit that Jennifer Garner became in "Alias."

In Sleeping Dictionary, Alba definitely looks like someone any man would want to sleep with, but other than that seems in many ways miscast completely. I read one review here that mistakenly places this movie in South America. I wonder if the producers made the same mistake. The days when any dark skinned actress can play any dark skinned character, from Latino to Asian to Arabic, appear to be over to me. Alba didn't seem like a resident of Borneo. She in many ways seemed like a wise ass girl from East Los Angeles.

Then there's the main problem, her delivery of lines. Alba is excellent when she keeps her mouth shut. No, really, she does reaction shots extremely well. Her emotions play out beautifully on her face. It's when she has to talk that she often finds herself in trouble. In this film, much of her delivery of her lines was just short of bad.

More importantly, it wasn't good and that makes this film another big missed chance for Jessica Alba. It's too bad, because she was in part hampered by an under developed character, which may have been hampered by a restricted budget. Ten more minutes showing us who the main characters really were might have made all the difference in this film. But Alba still would have had to be good enough to handle the added material and I still don't know if she is.

She supposedly has another film in the works in which she plays some kind of hiphop dancer. Hopefully, at least playing the right race, she'll shine. But she just misses the mark for me in "Sleeping Dictionary" as she has missed it in everything she's done since "Flipper."

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