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Sleeping Beauty [Blu-ray]
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You will go to sleep: you will wake up. It will be as if those hours never existed. Quietly reckless, Lucy (Emily Browning Suckerpunch) is a young university student who takes a job as a Sleeping Beauty. In the Sleeping Beauty Chamber old men seek an erotic experience that requires a drugged, comatose, Lucy¹s absolute submission. This unsettling task starts to bleed into Lucy's daily life as she develops an increasing need to know what happens to her when she is asleep. Haunting and provocative, Julia Leigh's powerful vision is one of the most startling debut features of recent years.
Emily Browning gives a fierce and powerful performance, which should put her in the running for the festival's best actress prize GUARDIAN
"Haunting and dreamlike, a joy to watch"- ELLE
Audacious and suggestive **** - TIME OUT
Dark and erotic VOGUE
"Haunting... Stunning, brave, thoughtful and highly accomplished... it lingers like a vivid dream ****" TOTAL FILM
"Brave and beautiful...mesmerising and hypnotic, the sensual camerawork lingers on the beauty of everything it touches ****" EMPIRE
Intelligent, provocative cinema **** - THE BIG ISSUE
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Emily Browning takes lead role, as Lucy, who's struggling to pay her bills. She's offered well paid work as 'silver service' (waiting-on) for exceptionally wealthy individuals - wearing only lingerie. Given her obvious beauty, Lucy is offered further work - as a 'body' to be laid next to, by these wealthy people. She must undress, take a drug that makes her unconscious for several hours, and sleep in a bed. Meanwhile various men - on different nights - sleep alongside Lucy. They molest her naked body - abusing her - but are told to never actually engage in sex. Lucy never meets these men - she's asleep when they arrive, and they're gone when she awakens.
This employment pays well - and Lucy starts to enjoy life. But she's concerned by what goes on while she sleeps ... and so she decides to secretly film one of the sessions.
"Sleeping Beauty" is a well-made film, and is artistically brilliant. It has a distinctly Australian 'feel' to it (especially the sarcasm and humour). It's a complex film, with multiple layers, and it slowly gains pace - until its climactic finale. Personally, I am most impressed by this movie. On the one hand, it explores dark passions; and on the other, it examines the willingness to be abused in exchange for money. It's central theme is lust - how this manifests itself in contemporary society, and how it fails to achieve meaningful satisfaction.
If you're interested in films that present more questions than answers, and which engage with the foreboding aspects of sex, then I highly recommend this movie.
I'm very happy with this item and it arrived on the day that was stated
The core of the film is Lucy, a young girl in her quest of survival both financially and emotionally. Menial job, unstable living situation and relationships - common indie film subjects. But as curious Lucy applies for a strange, dangerous, erotic job, both she and the film then take a turn into a darker underworld. The film then becomes more dreamlike, jet lagged even as the underlying themes become more relevant than the actual events themselves. The jigsaw piece style of narrative is handled very well in my opinion.
It beats to it's own heart but the films it reminded me of most were 'Story of O', 'Mulholland Drive', 'Celine and Julie go boating' 'Picnic at hanging rock' and Michael Haneke's 'Hidden'. Unusually European flavour for an Australian film. Delicate and haunting but not everyone's cup of tea/mysterious white powder bedtime beverage.
Emily Browning stars as Lucy, aka Sara, a student of loose morals who juggles various jobs and takes on a role doing silver service whilst wearing lingerie. She also juggles various men. Lucy, aka Sara, is told that she will be working with other women, some of whom will have more responsibilities. In time, Lucy, aka Sara, also takes on new responsibilities - specifically taking a narcotic dose and sleeping naked for the pleasure of old men. It's beautifully shot, with near still camera angles, long periods of silence and very creepy undertones. Then by day, Lucy, aka Sara, goes back to university and sits in lectures, awaiting phone calls to spring her into action.
Meanwhile, Lucy does her best to maintain normal relations with her housemates and her various men. Unsuccessfully.
Emily Browning puts in a stellar performance, not least as she plays unconscious whilst being carried about the room and half dropped off a bed. She manages to convince in a very difficult role, blending innocence with moral depravity without ever seeming conflicted.
The premise sounds erotic but, with the exception of one early scene featuring coin tossing, the performance is absolutely deadpan and devoid of all emotion. There is nudity, but it is sterile. Everything feels suppressed. The ending, when it comes, is ambiguous and deflating.
For my money, Sleeping Beauty is a future classic - unashamedly art-house and very heavily stylized. And, as some Australian newspapers have noted, it is an Australian film which doesn't play on its provenance. For much of the film, the action might as well be in a French chateau - referenced by a bed with a bolster rather than pillows. The accents are Australian but the location could be anywhere.
On the other hand, I should say that my wife thought the film was pretentious, boring and pointless.
Looking at other review websites, it seems that opinion is split pretty evenly. But few people seem to think the film is average - it's a love it or hate it divide.
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