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Sleep Furiously (2008)

 -  Documentary  -  29 May 2009 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 258 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 8 user | 36 critic | 8 from

A poetic and profound journey into a world of endings and beginnings; a world of stuffed owls, sheep and fire.


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Title: Sleep Furiously (2008)

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Set in a small farming community in mid Wales, a place where Koppel's parents - both refugees - found a home. This is a landscape and population that is changing rapidly as small scale agriculture is disappearing and the generation who inhabited a pre-mechanised world is dying out. Much influenced by his conversations with the writer Peter Handke, the film maker leads us on a poetic and profound journey into a world of endings and beginnings; a world of stuffed owls, sheep and fire. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

29 May 2009 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Sleep Furiously  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


£300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Wake Up And See This Gem
4 August 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is not a film for either Hollywood or YouTube. It takes all the time it needs to show you something and it does it with empathy and an understanding that only an insider has. On the surface, seen in long shots of valley and landscape, little happens and change is as slow as the seasons. Beneath that surface, shown in close-ups of the community, especially the visits of the library van, there is a lot going on in all their lives.

The title might easily refer to the silent desperation of rural dwellers whose communities are being stripped of their assets as families, pubs, schools, shops and public transport disappear in a hopeless struggle with urbanisation and the 'free' market. Or whose industries are not valued by a society that, even in reviews of this film, sees only the surface of life outside the all consuming metropolis. It could equally refer to the string of events that pass beneath the radar of most visitors to the countryside, the social life that glues communities together, the cycles of birth, productive life and death that applies to animals as well as people.

Sure it is beautifully shot and that may bewilder those who can only equate realism with grime, dark shadows and a limited colour palette. If you need a back story to understand what is going on, or the director to hold up prompts for your emotional response, this movie is not for you.

Here there are almost two films going on, one within the dialogue and music, another inside the visuals. We often hear the speaker long before they appear on screen. And the voices reveal the intimate details of life in a small community, filling in the context, telling one story where the camera tells another. It almost seems to be lying to us. But that seems to be the point; the placid surface and the activity beneath. Put them together and they are an exquisitely made essay on life in early twenty first century rural Wales.

If you look closely at a sleeper's eyes, you'll notice a lot of rapid movement beneath closed lids. If you watch the sleeper for a long while you will see a lot of activity even in repose. This film is just like that.

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