Film description
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Two Gates of Sleep
dir. Alistair Banks Griffin / USA 2010 / 78’
subtitles: Polish


Brady Corbet, David Call, Karen Young, Ross Francis, Ritchie Montgomery, Lindsay Soileau

Film description

Jack and Louis live with their mother in a lonely cabin among meadows and forests of Mississippi. When the mother dies, the brothers set out on a journey to bury her in the place of her choosing. Their arduous journey upriver slowly turns into a live-or-die battle with nature.

The brothers live cut off from civilization and are one with their surroundings, physically bonded with nature in an animal-like relationship. They share nature’s rawness. The film includes only a few lines of dialogue; the brothers’ contact with the world is far more primal and atavistic than speech. Jack and Louis’ largely silent and bitter journey with their mother’s coffin assumes a metaphysical dimension: full of hypnotizing natural beauty where nature becomes one of the main characters.

In Homer’s Odyssey, there are two gates of fleeting dreams, where true dreams are spoken of as coming through the gates of horn, false dreams as coming through those of ivory. This reference applies in the film, as one of the brothers accepts death allowing it to pass through him, while the other is so torn, he cannot handle it and move on, claims Corbet. A.B. Griffin’s film also references the tradition of European cinema, with evident metaphysical inspiration akin to Tarkovsky or Sokurov. Two Gates of Sleep is less-than-obvious, open to interpretation and quite complex under its seeming simplicity.

Karolina Kosińska

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