somniloquies Screen 5 articles

somniloquies

2017

somniloquies Poster
  • Paravel and Castaing-Taylor have selected deep cuts from these recordings and added a layer beneath, a sort of underwater, Eno-esque ambience that accentuates the background sounds of NYC traffic on the original tapes. So that’s a superb, 73-minute remix, right there. What to do for sights? Wander sleeping bodies—not blurred so much as smudged—in extreme closeup. And that’ll be that.

  • Sometimes erotic, occasionally repellent and most often confusing (What exactly are we seeing? Is that a bent knee of an armpit?), these bodies are as disconnected to waking life biology as dream figures that could perhaps feature in a sleep-talker’s tales. The voice on the soundtrack belongs to songwriter Dion McGregor and is recorded in his sleep – his very coherent (in a surreal way) dispatches from the dream world provide the narrative segmentation of the film.

  • The film itself has a deeply somniferous effect on the spectator, who is lulled into drowsiness through the dark, slow-moving imagery and trancelike voice-track.

  • It makes for an extremely soothing and pleasurable experience, but beyond offering an illustration of people sleeping while dreams are being recounted, the correlation between image and narration isn’t apparent. It could very well be that the cinema is not the ideal venue for such viewing, as somniloquies doesn’t fulfill the structural expectations of a feature-length film (even a short one – somniloquies clocks in at 73 minutes).

  • There’s something vaguely Lynchian about getting into a person's head like that, and the array of abstract imagery recalls late Lynch movies like Inland Empire, as well as the films of Philippe Grandrieux and the paintings of Francis Bacon... There's enough dissonance that the dream world and real world of somniloquies forever remain separate realms, although the film ultimately goes very far — perhaps farther than most movies – to try and bridge the gap between the two.

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