sleep furiously

sleep furiously


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

As the portrait of a community in decline, Gideon Koppel’s documentary has nothing to say. It feels, as no doubt it is supposed to, like something from the Fifties.

Although this is Wales, and much of it is in the Welsh language, what you see could have been shot in England, or Scotland, only better. A suspicion remains, however, that the local produce show and sheep dog trials were chosen for their poverty of ambition rather than the quality of home grown talent.

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Rural life – not Country Life – has always been the conservative cousin of urban street smarts. Of course, you could make a movie contradicting this, emphasising craftsmanship and tradition, or the WI (without Helen Mirren), or fly fishing (with J L Hartley, if he exists, which he doesn’t).

There are no young people, except those in the endangered primary school. The farmers are not in good condition. They look tired and their equipment looks exhausted. Where is the pride? Where the money?

The man who drives the mobile library might be considered the star of the show, not for his charismatic sales pitch of this month’s new titles, but for his length of screen time, matched only by dogs, pies and sheep.

A cow gives birth in a barn. Ladies in an old people’s home are polite to each other. A formidable teacher with a German (?) accent works with clay at the school. In the farmhouses, they are baking cakes. On the hill, they are watching collies. Above Wales, the sky is pregnant with rain.

Koppel’s syle is non-style. This is docu basics, which intentionally downplays tourist office PR. This is a country for old men. And even older animals.

“Keep going,” someone says. “That’s the main thing.”

What’s “Why bother?” in the native tongue?

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2008
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Rural Wales faces change from all sides as the population ages.

Read more sleep furiously reviews:

George Williamson **1/2

Director: Gideon Koppel

Year: 2007

Runtime: 94 minutes

Country: UK

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