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Description

An arresting debut feature from Irish director Rebecca Daly, The Other Side of Sleep refuses to give in to simple classification. At once an absorbing mood piece, disquieting fever dream and stark crime drama, Daly’s film avoids the well-worn conventions of the sus­pense thriller to dig at something far more brooding and uneasy.

Loosely inspired by the director’s own memory of a girl’s disappearance from her village, the film follows Arlene (Antonia Campbell-Hughes), a young factory worker living alone in a rural Irish community. Ever since her mother was killed mysteri­ously when she was a child, Arlene has been plagued by chronic sleepwalking and has withdrawn into a solitary life.

This solemn existence takes a jarring turn after she wakes up beside the bloodied corpse of another woman. From here, Daly’s film blurs the line between the reality of the crime and the confusion of Arlene’s unconscious. Her tragic past and mounting sleep depriva­tion intensify her dreamy state, making her increasingly volatile. She threatens her own safety by wandering into the streets late at night, and into the shady lives of the victim’s family and outcast boyfriend, who has been named as a suspect in the case. Yet nothing is ever certain in this elusive and often abstract murder mystery.

Daly downplays familiar genre trappings to create an ambiguous emotional journey. Extended moments of silence and pensive close-ups amplify Arlene’s slanted percep­tion. Recognizable from her supporting part in Jane Campion’s Bright Star, Campbell-Hughes strikes an emotional bond with the audience. From the film’s unsettling open­ing moments, Arlene’s melancholic gaze and deep vulnerability are as engrossing and bewildering as the mystery at hand.

Film Info

(2013)
1 min 18 sec Duration
3,850 views
  • Posted: September 08, 2011
  • Director: Rebecca Daly
  • Writer: Glenn Montgomery
  • Studio: Unknown
  • Release: May 11, 2011
  • Cast: Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Sam Keeley, Vicky Joyce

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