The Sleepwalker

Director: Mona Fastvold
Screenwriters: Brady Corbet, Mona Fastvold

Institute History

  • 2014 Sundance Film Festival


Kaia enjoys a quiet life with her boyfriend, Andrew, on her late father’s secluded, 1920s, Le Corbusier–style estate, isolated from the rest of her rural Massachusetts town. Their restoration of the elaborate, but gutted, home is interrupted by the middle-of-the-night arrival of Kaia’s sister, Christine, followed the next morning by Christine’s WASPish fiancé, Ira. Immediate friction develops among the quartet as Christine announces her pregnancy, questions Kaia’s relationship with Andrew, and objects to the relics of her and Kaia’s shared childhood being discarded.

In her feature debut, director Mona Fastvold visually and aurally creates a destabilizing atmosphere, lulling us into the unraveling sisters’ fractured experience of the world. The art direction enhances this dreamy, but unsettling, mood, juxtaposing the sharp exterior angles and the interior decay of the house with its idyllic wooded surroundings. A study in contrasts between Christine’s raging brokenness and Kaia’s repression, Ira’s mild-mannered propriety and Andrew’s bitter blue-collar machismo, The Sleepwalker weaves these compounding clashes into a powerful portrait of the battle to separate the young women’s personal fictions from realities.

— Heidi Zwicker

Screening Details

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