katrinaolson.ca - KO Review of May We Sleep Soundly (CUFF 2016)

Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 at 01:00 PM

KO Review of May We Sleep Soundly (CUFF Shorts: Strange Things Are Afoot) (CUFF 2016)

Review by Katrina Olson-Mottahed x CalgaryMovies.com

A KO Review by Emily Mody

May We Sleep Soundly is a short narrative film directed by Denis Côté. This film is very mysterious. I feel like this is the type of film that definitely needs a description but when I went to read it I found that it raised more questions than it answered. The only thing that the description helped me to understand was that this was not, in fact, a documentary short but a narrative short. An individual walks around a winter-covered landscape. They enter homes and record various people sleeping. The only noise that is to be heard is the sound of the individual’s boots crunching on the snow or plodding heavily through one of the homes. It was uncomfortable for me to watch the various people sleeping. Sleeping seems to be, for me at least, an act that is very private and vulnerable. I felt like I was intruding on a very intimate space. It felt quite strange.

I definitely did not fully understand this film. It was beautiful in it’s own, very quiet and lonely way. There is something about it though that I am having a hard time pinpointing. Perhaps it was just that the individual holding the camera came off a little sinister. Maybe this is what Côté had intended or perhaps the character was just trying to find someone who was awake. Nonetheless, it still felt very strange how they just entered someone’s home and recorded them while they slept. For this reason, I did not enjoy the film very much. I often enjoy a mysterious story line where everything is not laid out perfectly for the viewer. I also often enjoy films that I do not, necessarily ‘get’, but May We Sleep Soundly just did nothing to excite me or pull me in. If anything it pushed me away.

The only film I can think to compare this to would be a short film called Most of Us Don’t Live There directed by Laura Wayne. This film is about a young woman who wanders the Canadian North wilderness. Through narration she recounts her experiences dealing with depressive disorder. The main way in which these two films compare is through the style of filming. Both Wayne and Côté utilize a hand held style, which lends itself to a more intimate feeling. The two films are also similar in where they are set, a beautiful snowy landscape. Where May We Sleep Soundly makes me feel uncomfortable and distanced, Most of Us Don’t Live There makes me feel warm and completely connected. Most of Us Don’t Live There is visually stunning and thoughtful. I enjoyed it greatly and I am sorry to say that it definitely does not compare to May We Sleep Soundly in that way.

May We Sleep Soundly runs a total of 14 minutes. If this film sounds like something that might interest you it will be screening as a part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF). It will be playing on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Globe Cinema Downstairs at approximately 4:10pm (May We Sleep Soundly will be screening as a part of a larger shorts package called CUFF Shorts: Strange Things Are Afoot which will begin at 3:45pm that afternoon).



NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.