d. Gideon Koppel / 2008 / UK / 94 mins
Viewed at: Screen 3 @ Cinema City (Norwich, UK)
It has the dubious honour of being the first film to gain a repeat appearance on Screen Addict, but another opportunity to experience Gideon Koppel’s magnificent Sleep Furiously was too good to pass up. And since the brief here was to write about every film I watch, it is only fair that one of the finest British documentaries in recent years gets a second airing.
Firstly, I should rectify the inexplicable omission of the library van man who essentially holds the whole loose actualité together and provides perhaps the only reliable element aside from the weather. A second viewing also got me to thinking about why I liked it so much in the first place – particularly considering some of the highly disparaging comments I heard after this particular screening. In one sense, I think I was so overwhelmed by the overall tone of Sleep Furiously, the stark beauty of its images and the pure lyricism of the whole thing.
Knowing what to expect, I also had more time to consider some of the external influences upon Koppel’s film. Having previously remarked upon the echoes of Aguirre, Downside Up, the interwar British documentary movement and the modern French rural documentaries of Depardon and Philibert, this time I sensed more subtle influences from Central and Eastern Europe, from Andrei Tarkovsky to Béla Tarr.
Similarly, I was much more critical this time and noticed a lot more ‘imperfections’, but I also picked up on more detail, from staring cows to swinging sheep testicles. I suppose, having been so enamored last time, I was determined to find fault. Thankfully, I could find nothing of substance. To my mind, Gideon Koppel’s Sleep Furiously remains an expertly crafted work of rural filmmaking and a fine documentary indeed.