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Film Review: Beauty Sleep (short film) (2014)

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SYNOPSIS:

A subversive portrait of contemporary identity loss.

REVIEW:

Another short film for you today, this time BEAUTY SLEEP, an abstract film from Run Rabbit Run Films.

Kind of hard to describe this one, actually. We basically have one unnamed female character, played by Maura Stephens. The film opens with her taking a handful of pills, although we aren’t sure exactly why. Sleep aid? Suicide attempt? LSD? I have no idea.

But we follow the girl on a mental trip of some sort. The best way I can describe it is “dreaming under the influence”. A lot of neat visual effects, and manipulation of sound. Also, creative use of classic recordings and television clips.

I’m pretty certain I recognized the Alice recordings, audio that was recorded during an LSD experiment in the late sixties. Excerpts from that same recording have been used by other artists in the past, not the least of which being the band Ministry. The credits don’t say, but it certainly seemed like that was what I heard.

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This is experimental cinema, and very surreal. Chances are, this may not appeal to a lot of people. It’s like those odd films that do so well at festivals like Cannes, but the general public just can’t wrap their heads around them.

For me, I have to say it was an interesting film to watch. By the end, it either all made sense, or I missed the point. It leaves it to the viewer to figure out exactly what happened to the girl. There is no dialogue other than selected clips and sound effect recordings, so everything is left open to interpretation.

Ms. Stephens has two other shorts listed on IMDB, but nothing else. Writer/director Andrew Robinson has only this short. He was also the producer, editor, visual effects artist, and in charge of the sound department. Not unusual for a short film, really.

While I’m not sure if I really understood what the filmmaker was trying to convey, it was still neat to watch. And at a run time of 13 minutes, it’s not like it ate up a large amount of my day.

So using my special “short scale” of one to five, five being awesome, I’m giving this film 3 pills.

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