"A man goes on a journey for a slice of apple pie."

Sleepwalk is a short film directed by Portuguese filmmaker and professional pianist Filipe Melo that deals with subjects such as food, memory, keeping promises and a mother and son relationship.

This clicked with the famous concept of Marcel Proust’s madeleines, the way he used them to describe smells, tastes, sounds or any sensations that remind you of your childhood and trigger emotional memories from a long time ago.

The film was adapted from a comic book co-authored with Argentine artist Juan Cavia, with whom Filipe Melo has been collaborating on successful projects for a number of years. The original music for the film was composed by Filipe himself.

Sleepwalk borrows codes from US road movies and Westerns, and features one main character complemented by a cast of supporting characters, a strong internal conflict that triggers external ones, a special value placed on an object and a focus on a particular sensory image.

Staged on the road, in buildings located on its side and in a prison, the film uses a stylized aesthetic that denotes its strong art direction and the fact that it is an adaptation from a comic book story. Attention to color, lighting, framing and composition is impressive, some of the shots look like paintings (grading certainly played a part here, too). The emphasis on aesthetics can be seen right up to the graphic design of titles and credits.

Due to the size of the locations being filmed a number of extreme long shots are used, combined with a good number of medium shots. Close-ups are employed effectively for expressive effect.

Ellipses abound, with effective use of color and lighting for indicating passage of time. Among the most significant camera moves is the one starting on 9.04 that helps create surprise through a reveal. The dolly in at 12.55 and reaction shot at 13.03 used in the prison are well suited for transmitting emotion, as well as the final dolly at 13.43.

Performances are also worth noting, Greg Lucey’s subdued acting as Lloyd Jenkins (the main character), Joy Green’s expressive personification of Dolores, the man in charge of the restaurant played by William Frederick Knight as well as Durant Mcleod as Darren, Dolores’ son.

Sleepwalk makes interesting use of an object, a slice of apple pie, putting it at the center of the narrative. The main character’s insistence and the conflicts it generates with the other characters effectively hooks the audience. The real weight it carries, implicit in the sensory images it unleashes, results in a very strong closure for the film.

What makes it work so well? Strong, heartfelt script, great performances, notably effective plot twist and particularly compelling use of a sensory image.

Juan Cavia's portfolio

Força de Produção's site

Making of video


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