Sleep Furiously (Koppel, 2008): N21 Film Festival, Winchmore Hill. Details here.
This film is introduced by my Guardian colleague and Silent London blogger, Pamela Hutchinson, and is screening as part of the N21 Film Festival. Commemorating the centenary of Henrietta Cresswell’s book,“Winchmore Hill : Memories of a Lost Village”, and bringing back cinema to the area for the first time in 53 years, this unique Film Festival explores Winchmore Hill’s transition from a village to a suburb.
Five-star Time Out review:
'The ambiguous title of this ruminative, patchwork debut film from director Gideon Koppel
is borrowed from the grammatically correct, though entirely nonsensical
sentence, ‘Colourless green ideas sleep furiously’, which was
constructed by linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky. Maybe it’s
unintentional, but that notion – of an unfathomable harmony between
chaos and stability – permeates every scene of this wonderful film: a
tubby fellow in a yellow baseball cap struggles to herd sheep, but his
strained efforts deliver a mesmerising, rustic ballet for Koppel’s
sympathetic camera. Sheep saunter across a rain-drizzled mountainside,
but, remarkably, their strict formation begins to form beautiful
abstract shapes on the landscape. There’s an intensely moving shot of a
female choir conductor as she delivers musical cues through wild facial
movements: as a kind of punchline, she rolls her eyes as the choir
reaches the end of the piece.
Rather than telling a story,
Koppel paints a portrait of a community (the town of Trefeurig in Wales,
to be exact), loosely linking his vivid (and often very funny) sketches
of country life with the ambling journey of a mobile library. There are
scraps of dialogue here and there, but words are not important. It’s
more about rituals and process, a paean to old-fashioned methods like
farming, baking and rope-making that are slowly being crushed by the
wheels of progress. It never rests on tweeness or sarcasm and the sheer
ingenuity of the filmmaking produces something altogether deeper,
moodier, more compassionate and joyful. The lilting strains of Aphex
Twin work wonders on the soundtrack, as does the abrupt, consistently
surprising editing, which effortlessly transports the viewer from place
to place, life to life. This is as fully formed and unique a debut movie
as you could ever hope to see.'David Jenkins
Here is the trailer.