Sunday, January 27, 2008

The audience reacts with a yawn, a stretch, and a nap. And this is good?

A rarity amongst films: deliberately aims to put you to sleep, a 2006 independent film written and directed by Sondra Lowell, is a comedy that was conceived with a noble purpose: to "get our rushed, compulsive, stressed-out 21st century culture to slow down a bit and experience the rest and cellular renewal that only sleeping through a movie can bring."

"As for the theme and message of my own first feature, it's to encourage fans and other viewers to get more sleep. By sleeping through my movie," said Ms. Lowell.

The film makes no pretense about its primary purpose: "That's why we don't want to stress you out with a lot of action. Or a plot. Or character arcs or any of that other stuff you learned in film school. That's our mission. To not disturb your sleep. "

To compliment her film, Ms. Lowell has written an e-book, How to Make a Movie That Puts the Audience to Sleep: A Home Study Course, and also writes a blog about

It's rare for a filmmaker to acknowledge that film lovers want to watch so many movies, but we live our lives with little down-time to actually enjoy a film, or with little down-time, period. Some of my favorite movies are directed with a soothing pace; not every film should be like Cloverfield. As it is, sometimes the only way I get to watch many of the movies I rent through Netflix is to watch them in parts. I'll watch them late at night, after a hurried day, until I feel drowsy. If I decide to watch a movie in parts, it will usually take two, sometimes three, sittings to watch it through completion. I think Ms. Lowell is on to something. Without having to go to the degree Ms. Lowell has embraced, maybe filmmakers should consider making films in two or three acts, with deliberate intermissions -- precise points where we can safely pause a movie if we only have 45 to 60 minutes at a time to watch a movie.

The redeeming social commentary in about our conflicting work-life balance issues applies to us all. We have to find more serenity in our hectic lives.


Add to Technorati Favorites

Save to

1 comment:

Sondra Lowel said...

I applaud Mr. Flores for his courage in speaking out in favor of the most significant new genre since Film Noir--Film Sleepy. Most critics and bloggers stick with the tried and trite and only take into consideration “entertainment” that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat or, at least, awake--without any concern for the effect this “art” is having on our society and the individuals in it.

His suggested add-on to current Film Sleepy practices--placing intermissions between acts so viewers can remain awake during the movie but catch up on their sleep during short entr’actes--is worth considering by producers of exciting films like Snakes on a Plane and that Scientology recruitment video where Tom Cruise says only “we” know how to help people in an accident.

However, studies have shown that longer, consecutive periods of sleep are more effective in maintaining and restoring both mental and physical health, and that is why is quietly gaining converts worldwide [currently weighing in at an impressive 180,783rd place on Amazon’s best seller list].

As the filmmaker of the oeuvre in question, I would only change Mr. Flores’ insightful post by making a few minor cuts: “A rarity among films!…Conceived with a noble purpose!…My favorite movie!….I feel drowsy!”