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SLEEPWALKERS

Spain, 1977 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Manuel Gutierrez Aragon

In the Sleepwalkers the stories are interwoven with scenes from an avant-garde theatrical performance, rather in the style and approach of Jacques Rivette.

Ana works for a committee that seeks the freedom of a group of terrorists who were condemned to death by a military court during the Burgos trials. When she suddenly becomes dizzy and collapses, her uncle Andres, a doctor de-registered for drug smuggling, tries to help her but finds she has cancer. Andres, an unscrupulous cynic, whose treatment of Ana only makes her worse, lives with Ana's mother, Rosa. He tries to persuade Ana to return home, but her mother, who works with and on the same committee, tries to keep her daughter busy in her work at the national library and on the committee.

In their home, Ana's small son, Andresito, reads to her from a book he has found at the clinic where his mother is being treated. Ana likens the characters, a queen, a magician and a mortally wounded princess to her mother, uncle and herself. In the story, the magician offers a book to the princess in exchange for the destruction of the queen.

Next day the book has disappeared and Ana suspects this is more than a coincidence. She tries to find it with the help of the introverted Juan, who works at the library. It is eventually found by her uncle's nurse, who continues to read her the story, but they are interrupted by the arrival of Rosa. The nurse hates the mother, and leaves with the book.

Ana decides to help her mother on the committee, taking an active and decisive part in the case. Heeding the advice of the book magician, she reports her mother (the queen) to the police. But she already shows signs of madness; her story is not accepted, and she is placed in a sanatorium.

Best Director, San Sebastian.

Manuel Gutierrez Aragon

Born: 1942. Studied at the School of Cinematography.

Features: Habla Mudita (1973), Black Brood (1977), Sleepwalkers (1978).

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