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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Perfect....
I, thankfully, caught a showing of 'sleep furiously' on one of a two date showing at the QUAD arthouse cinema in Derby some time ago, after the film being selected as 'film of the month' in the BFI's 'Sight & Sound' magazine in the prior few weeks (the 'Sight & Sound' review can be read online through the BFI's website)

I didn't believe I'd see a finer film...
Published on 28 Jun 2009 by C. Williamson

versus
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sleep Furiuosly
I have just to write a short note about the aspect ratio of this film. I suspect the original aspect ratio is 4:3, but a decision was made to encode it for DVD at 16:9, for widescreen TVs. This is done by zooming into the 4:3 frame, but because the film has English subtitles as parts of the film have Welsh dialogue, and to accomodate the subtitles which are sometimes...
Published on 7 Oct 2011 by J. M. Jeffreys


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Perfect...., 28 Jun 2009
By 
C. Williamson (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I, thankfully, caught a showing of 'sleep furiously' on one of a two date showing at the QUAD arthouse cinema in Derby some time ago, after the film being selected as 'film of the month' in the BFI's 'Sight & Sound' magazine in the prior few weeks (the 'Sight & Sound' review can be read online through the BFI's website)

I didn't believe I'd see a finer film this year than the staggering Swedish vampiric genius of 'Let The Right One In' but, for me personally, 'sleep furiously' nearly trumps it.

In comparison to most documentaries these days, there's no specific machine-gunned 'point' that the Director, Gideon Koppel, is trying to get over to his viewers, nor is the work a 'call-to-action' piece highlighting the regression and increasing isolation of such a decreasing rural community, yet after the credits have rolled, one is left speechless by the charm, warmth, humour and imagery of what has been captured in front of the camera.

Different people take away differing things from movies of course, especially in more emotive-led works such as this but, for me, this is a movie about the increasingly overlooked act of simple observation; the photography of the vast sunkissed and snowbound rolling hills of Trefeurig are worth the price of admission alone but even smaller elements such as the brief captured everyday conversation's between characters such as the mobile library driver, John Jones, and his array of customers to the sublime vocals during the choir practice scene leave a deep, haunting inspiration behind.

The music throughout the film is provided by the electronica legend, Aphex Twin, and his piano led ambient works suit the visuals to a tee. Lovely......just lovely.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colourless green ideas sleep furiously., 5 Oct 2009
By 
Mrs. Mw Edwards (Mid-Wales.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Have you ever seen a newborn baby sleeping in its cot, in fast-motion? Have you ever seen a piglet dropping from its mother's womb? Have you ever seen a film in which the director's half-blind mother is featured prominently, seen walking her dog, washing the dishes, putting clothes on the line? I'll bet that the answer to all (or most) off those questions is "No, what the hell are you on about?" All these curios, and many, many more are featured in Sleep Furiously, a new documentary from Wales-raised wonderkid Gideon Koppel. However, this is NOT your average documentary.

The tone is set immediately in the memorable opening scene, in which we see an old farmer (who we never see again in the film) walking a sheep-dog, mumbling to himself, on a long, narrow, empty road. It is never explained who he is, or where he's walking to, but that's the point, and it is what you will have to deal with for the next 93 minutes. Although there are central characters, (Koppel's mother, the mobile-librarian) Sleep Furiously is mostly narrative-free. We see a number of seemingly pointless or ordinary conversations - between four bubbly old ladies, between two farmers - that, for the first hour or so, seem to make you wonder how or why they weren't left on the cutting-room floor. But as the film goes on, it is made clearer and clearer what the subject is, and once you realize what it is, it hits you like a ten-tonne pig.

No, this isn't a nature documentary, a wildlife film or anything like that; it is a film about people, about a dying community, about a village so isolated from the so-called "normal" world, that it really makes you wonder - what is normal? Because normal for them is Trefeurig, this tightly-knit farming community, and it is their life. It is thanks to the director that the film paints such a vivid picture of a village that's slowly fading. In early scenes we see a classroom and their music teacher. However, the class is of all different ages from 5 to 11 (recalling Nicolas Phillibert's similarly-themed masterpiece, Etre et Avoir), because these twelve children are the only pupils left in this tiny mid-Wales school. Another central stringing-theme is the mobile library, which travels, door-to-door, to deliver books to their friends. It is in sub-plots like these that you really get to the core of Koppel's film. These are real people, close friends and family, and they're happy - why should the school, or the village hall, or the local shop be closed down? That is what shapes the village, and it is what defines a certain type of culture that city people tend to think was left back in the 20th century.

Thanks to gorgeous landscape photography (self-made by the director) and a sumptuous music score by Cornish indies Aphex Twin, Koppel's film is a haunting, beautiful, mesmerising experience, and one that won't leave you in a hurry. Highly, highly recommended; one of the most though-provoking and heartbreaking British films in years.

*-*-*-*-* "It is only when I sense the end of things that I find the courage to speak. The courage, but not the words."
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The courage to speak, but not the words., 16 July 2009
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This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
The rural village culture is fading away. As things come to a close the filmmaker has the courage to speak out - but no words, so he makes a quiet documentary film, with no commentary. The village is captured in images -quietly and slowly- and speaks for itself and its own values.

Not a film for everyone, no fast edits, no car chases, little action, little narrative flow. This is a contemplative film, a rural record which some urbanites may find difficult to understand.

Plenty of long held static shots interspersed with some noisy village activities, such as bonfire night, sheep sheering, sheep dog trials, milking the cows, and the birth of piglets and a calf (if you don't like bodily fluids, it isn't horribly graphic). The calf is fine, that is how animals are born and cared for by their mothers.

Plenty of Welsh countyside. I have taken a photo similar to the shot of the long line of sheep walking single file along a track - but in the film, the shot shows two lines of sheep going in one direction as the rain is driven in the other direction, lovely shot.

The two sheep dogs are not fighting. No wounds. They are establishing dominance (as a third dog is playful with a bowl).

I enjoyed seeing how those round black plastic bales you see in fields are made.

The star of the movie is the small yellow library van making its rounds, which introduces us to the people of the village. Much skill (and trust) has ensured that the people go about their tasks quite naturally and without reacting to the small 16mm camera used.

Loved watching this on a very small cinema screen, look forward to the DVD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Grateful for Films Like This ..., 7 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This is gentle film-making at its best: a quiet documentary about a Welsh village that knows its days are numbered. The mainly elderly inhabitants are recorded for posterity as they chatter in a mixture of Welsh and English, and go about their everyday lives, gravitating to the mobile library or the chapel when they aren't helping to birth calves or piglets.

There's some heartfelt singing (of course) from singers who will never make an album, and who wouldn't want to - and the whole thing has an air of compassion about it that makes it compelling viewing.

The director is not afraid to slow us down to the rhythm of the landscape.

Enjoy the sheep for their constant presence. They are decorative, talkative, lively, even acrobatic - and they are never less than entertaining, whatever they happen to be doing. The distant view of two ovine processions plodding resolutely across the landscape in the rain must be one of the loveliest things on film.

Dylan Thomas got it right with 'Under Milk Wood' - Gideon Koppel gets it right with 'Sleep Furiously' ...

When communities like this have vanished forever, as they surely must, it will be good to have something to remember them by as we mourn their passing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welsh Nirvana, 4 Mar 2011
This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
If you love quirky, individualistic celebrations of life, this video is for you. St David said "Do the little thing" as you do not know what result may come from your simple Christian acts of love and compassion. Here you will find no plotting, but much character, delving into the heart of Wales.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegiac picture of rural life, 27 Sep 2010
By 
Mr. David Llewelyn "book reviewer" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
A film full of fabulous frames of rural mid Wales.An unhurried, personal picure of life in a close Welsh hill community. Visually stunning in parts. The extended scene of sheep meandering over the hilside will stay in the memory for a long time.The director has the courage to hold a scene and let the image build.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sleep Furiuosly, 7 Oct 2011
By 
J. M. Jeffreys (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I have just to write a short note about the aspect ratio of this film. I suspect the original aspect ratio is 4:3, but a decision was made to encode it for DVD at 16:9, for widescreen TVs. This is done by zooming into the 4:3 frame, but because the film has English subtitles as parts of the film have Welsh dialogue, and to accomodate the subtitles which are sometimes close to the bottom of the frame, it is the lower portion of the 4:3 frame that is encoded. This means that the picture is badly cropped at the top of the frame. This has the result that we often cannot see a person's head or their eyes. To the distributor of this film - Please re-encode as full-frame 4:3.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet, 18 Nov 2009
This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
What a marvelous film. It exudes a rich, warm glow and saunters along at a stately pace - Gideon Koppel's painterly palette draws out the beauty in the minutiae of country living as sheep bustle along a verdant valley, customers mull over titles in a mobile library, cakes are judged, sign posts are serenaded. Quite simply it is a film with great soul and much to say with few words. Beautiful, masterly and essential viewing. Treat yourself...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite piece of documentary film making., 4 Nov 2009
By 
J. Miller (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Gideon Koppel's gentle film is a lovingly made tribute to a fast-vanishing rural life. Mecifully free from preening presenters and their gimmicks, the film allows the camera to unobtrusively observe the ordinary lives of others, and the heart-achingly beautiful landscape in which they live. At times it all moved me to tears.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film on life., 14 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
A delightful observation of rural life in Wales. The cumulative charms of the farm and village evoke the quiet cohesion and meaning that are so real and engrossing. The film skilfully tells it's story through daily life with humour.
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Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007]
Sleep Furiously [DVD] [2007] by Gideon Koppel (DVD - 2009)
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