Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 173: Thu June 21

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.

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