Voluptuous Sleep

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Voluptuous Sleep

95 minutes

Betzy Bromberg | U.S. | 2011 | 95m
color | sound | 16mm

Filmmaker in person!

{I}  Language is a Skin
sound and music by Dane A. Davis, Zack Settel, Jean-Pierre Bedoyan, Pam Aronoff, James Rees, and Betzy Bromberg 

{II} And the Night Illuminated the Night
sound and music by Robert Allaire
performed by the Formalist Quartet

“Forces of desire.”—Betzy Bromberg

“Betzy Bromberg’s Voluptuous Sleep is a mesmerizing two-part 16mm meditation on the nuances of light, sound and feeling as evoked through the poetic artifices of cinema. Bromberg’s close-up lens becomes a tool of infinite discovery that reveals as much about our bodily sensations as it does the natural world. Combined with intricate and perfectly matched soundtracks, Voluptuous Sleep is a rapturous, re-centering antidote to the fragmentation of modern life and offers a new experience of cinematic time and memory. It is also an emotional tour de force.”—Steve Anker (Redcat Program Notes)

“Betzy Bromberg’s Voluptuous Sleep is like a subterranean river reemerging into the light, extending and expanding the flux of images and sounds that had enchanted us in her previous film, a Darkness Swallowed. Again, the filmmaker introduces a caesura between two parts of unequal length. In the first (Language is a Skin), tactility becomes a metaphor for vision (or vision for tactility?); as we surrender to a rich tapestry of shapes, motions and hues—pitch black with glittering particles of white or yellow light, rich blue overtones, pale grey/green, fleeting patches of violet—their shimmering liquidity and constant reconfiguration make it impossible to fully grasp them; so we are tempted with an equally fluid desire to seek meaning in the verbal constructions that make our consciousness. The only “naming” that takes place, however, is that of the dark undertones of the soundtrack, multiple layers of “musical objects” that bring the experience, beyond language, to another level of sensorial presence—and another level of abstraction. 
   Graced with the almost liturgical chords of a string quartet (two violins, a viola, a cello), the second part, And the Night Illuminated the Night brings echoes of François Couperin’s Leçons de Ténèbres (Lessons of Darkness) or the “night of the soul” experienced by the mystics—but also Nathaniel Dorsky’s reflection on the stained glasses in the medieval cathedrals, that carried “a sense that the source of illumination wasn’t outside ourselves, but that we were perhaps the source of that light, that our human experience might be compared to a luminous bubble suspended in darkness.” (Devotional Cinema).
   Bromberg delivers a true cinematic alchemy: her meticulous work on the physicality and tactile quality of the texture of the 16mm stock, its emulsion, layers and sensitivity to light, opens up toward a glimpse of the unknown, of the ineffable. The darkness is no longer “swallowed”; it is transmuted into radiant light.” —Berenice Reynaud (Redcat Program Notes) 

“As with all of Bromberg’s films, there are images that, once seen, will stay with you forever, and then there are the colors—rich, luscious hues to be savored slowly… The film is also a gift to us, a reminder of cinema’s organic basis in chemistry and light, and of its ability to take us deep inside.” —Holly Willis, LA Weekly

Venue: New York Film Festival

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