Sleep Furiously became a critical discovery at the 2008 Edinburgh Film Festival, and then became one of the most critically acclaimed new British films of the year. It was described in the Independent on Sunday by Jonathan Romney as “sublime” and one of the signs of a British art cinema resurgence (along with HUNGER, and other New Wave releases UNRELATED and HELEN).
The film is a meditative study of a small farming community in mid-Wales that observes the rhythms of country life, and the rhythms of the monthly visits of the mobile library. But it is a life that is changing – the village school is about to close, mechanisation is replacing many of the old ways, congregations are dwindling, but the village show and the sheepdog trials carry on. Koppel’s interest in the eccentricities of life is simultan eously affectionate, moving and very funny.
The Guardian First Film Award
The DVD includes A Sketchbook for The Library Van an hour long pilot made before the film itself.
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Gideon Koppel grew up in Liverpool, studied mathematics and was a postgraduate student at the Slade School of Fine Art in the Experimental Media Studio.
His work as is exhibited in a wide variety of forms: from the film installation for fashion label Comme des Garcons to the controversial and never broadcast BBC film 'Ooh la la and the art of dressing up' which explores the psychopathology of celebrity.
Gideon is an award-winning director of film commercials; a faculty member at the University of London and teaches with Theodore Zeldin at L'École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC), Paris.
Interview with Gideon Koppel in The Times
Ooh la la and the art
of dressing up
Comme des Garçons
Un-Dressed: Fashion In
The Twentieth Century
director Gideon Koppel
producers Margaret Matheson Gideon Koppel
editor Mario Battistel
music Aphex Twin
cinematographer Gideon Koppel
executive producers Mike Figgis Serge Lalou
location sound Chris King
camera assistants John Evans Tasha Back Steven Gardner Ula Pontikos
production Kerri Trounce Ross McKenzie Sali Davies
graphics why not associates
supervising sound editor Joakim Sundström
sound effects editor Christer Melén
re-recording mixer Richard Davey
foley Tim Alban
digital intermediate Technicolor London
digital grader Paul Ensby
rushes grader Lee Twohey
digital editor Steve Garrett
project manager Nikki Groves
di consultant Simon Wilkinson
translation Owen Martell
Film Agency for Wales Pauline Burt Britt Harrison
Mary Brehony of Brehon & Co
Taken from the album 'Drukqs'
(P)2001 Warp Records Ltd
Taken from the album 'I Care Because You Do'
(P)1995 Warp Records Ltd
'SAW2 Untitled Track 7'
Taken from the album 'Selected Ambient Works II'
(P)1994 Warp Records Ltd
Performed by Aphex Twin
Written by Richard D. James
Published by © Chrysalis Music Ltd
Courtesy of Warp Recordswww.warprecords.com
Used With Permission All Rights Reserved.
Composed by A. D. H. Troyte
Words by W. D. Williams
© W. D. Williams Estate
'Y Deryn Glas’ (‘The Blue Bird’)
Composed by Charles Villiers Stanford
Words by Mary Coleridge
Welsh Translation by Glyndwr Richards
Welsh Translation Edited by John Stoddart
Performed by Côr ABC
© Glyndwr Richards Estate
Composed by Gwenda Williams
Words by Dewi Bowen
© Cyhoeddiadau Sain
Performed by Traiwd Menlli
p) Sain (Recordiau) Cyf
This film was made with the generous support of
Fuji Motion Picture Film
Royal Holloway University of London
Made with the support of the Film Agency for Wales
Made with the support of the National Lottery through the
Arts Council of Wales
Bard Entertainments Ltd and van film ltd
© van film ltd 2007
'This delicate, tonally complex film by Gideon Koppel is a documentary love-letter to Trefeurig, the Welsh farming community in Ceredigion where he grew up, and where his parents found refuge from Nazi Germany during the second world war. It is a rural society, outwardly placid and at one with a landscape of stunning beauty, but in fact in crisis. Koppel's film takes as its starting point the closure of the local school, a definitive, calamitous loss for a place where shops and bus services have already vanished. The movie pays tribute to the grit of a people who may yet revive their economy, but it acknowledges a darker possibility, for which the sentimental note of an "elegy" is not appropriate. Slowly, but surely, Trefeurig appears to be dying, and Koppel's camera captures the consequent ripples of loss and regret.'
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian - read the full review
'This wonderful film...'
David Jenkins Time Out - read the full review
'Here is a voice to be cherished....wonderful...'
'Images of wistful sadness are interlaced with humour and moments of skin-prickling beauty that leave the audience undone...profoundly and unexpectedly moving'
Wendy Ide, The Times
'Gideon Koppel’s magnificent documentary...mixture of community portrait, pastoral fresco and musing on eternity...'
'Koppel somehow infuses the idyllic with the impassioned, the bleak with the lyrical, the inarticulate gaze with the evangelistic vision.'
'Koppel’s film transcends the pedagogic to touch the celebratory, the holistic, the mystical – if we allow that last word to include the materiality of a world fashioned for our senses but seldom, in a medium made for seeing and hearing, so fully perceived or lovingly honoured.'
Nigel Andrews, The Financial Times
'The elegiac tenderness and pictorial beauty becomes...quite compelling.'
'A film forged from a real love of place'
Antony Quinn, The Independent - read the full review
'Riveting...extraordinary, ethereal...it looks, sounds and somehow even smells wholly new'
Sukhdev Sandhu, The Daily Telegraph - read the full review
'timeless and warm...beautifully made, with a wealth of humour and humanity at its centre...’
‘...the most beautifully elemental documentary film to have emerged in Britain in over a decade...I can’t applaud it loud enough.’
‘...Koppel reveals himself to be among the best listeners and watchers in the country...the beauty of his film lies in its ability to show us this truth...’
'A reminder of the magic of cinema'
Andrew O’Hagan, The Evening Standard - read the full review
'Koppel’s interest is in catching the everyday...but he does so with an extraordinary eye...'
'Sleep furiously is a portrait of a place, of a communal state of mind, and of a film-maker’s idiosyncratic sensibility . It’s a thing of quiet, off-beat tender poetry, and I defy you not to warm to it'
Jonathan Romney, The Independent on Sunday - read the full review
‘One of the best British films I’ve seen in the las t 12 months...’
Tom Charity, LoveFilm
'There’s real poetry in these images...if you spent any considerable time in this island, I suspect it’ll be impossible not to connect with it in some small yet life-improving way.'
Mike McCahill, The Sunday Telegraph
'...utterly charming....this is a compelling dissertation on human and physical geography...’
‘...a poetic picture of what stands to be lost through thoughtless modernisation...’
‘...astonishing, gorgeously crafted and surprisingly absorbing film – one of the stand-outs from last year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival –first time film-maker Gideon Koppel delivers a dreamy and heartbreaking portrait of a Welsh farming community edging into decline.'
Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman
‘...the stand-out movie of the summer so far.’
Kevin Maher, The Times
Beautiful...exquisite and moving Mark Ford, The Guardian - read the full review
‘SUBLIME...Gideon Koppel's record of life in a small Welsh community'
Jonathan Romney, The Independent on Sunday
FILM OF THE MONTH
'a gorgeous, moving and deeply poetic work of art...Profound and utterly beguiling...SIMPLY, A MASTERPIECE'
'Profound and utterly beguiling...on the surface it seems no more than a series of carefully chosen moments from the a year in the life of a small rural community in Trefeurig in mid-Wales...it is simply – and it is simple in its sly way – a mutely gorgeous, moving and deeply poetic work of art...'
'Now more than ever we need films like this: grave, measured, subtly comic and beautifully wrought, free of polemic and yet offering a new way of seeing that is as old as Arcady. Sleep Furiously is, simply, a masterpiece.'
John Banville, Sight and Sound - read the full review
‘a haunting beauty... poetic, profound’
‘...the film exerts a powerful and palpable hypnotic hold...’
‘...quite unlike anything else you’ll see this year.’
Jason Wood, Little White Lies
‘visually remarkable... infinitely beautiful ...marvellous... ‘
Alex Cox, Film Comment
‘This film is pure cinema: visually alert, brilliantly musical, and moving’
Mark Cousins, author of Imagining Reality and The Story