Films: The Sandman

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The Sandman  {Der sandmann}

The Sandman
Der sandmann

Switzerland, 2011, 87 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Dark Comedy, Drama, Psychological
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, Reel Social Club
Language: Swiss-German/German English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Peter Luisi
Producer: David Luisi, Peter Luisi
Editor: Claudio Cea
Screenwriter: Peter Luisi
Cinematographer: Lorenz Merz
Principal Cast: Fabian Krüger, Irene Brügger, Beat Schlatter, Florine Elena Deplazes, Kaspar Weiss

Benno is a bitter, foppish, 30-something failed composer who works at a stamp shop. Sandra owns the café he lives above, and spends her nights loudly practicing her own compositions, though she is too timid to perform them publicly. Benno hates her passionately and berates her relentlessly. But neighborly troubles aren’t his only problem: Benno is mystified when he begins to find tiny grains of sand in unusual places—sprinkled throughout his workplace, around his pillow when he wakes. It soon becomes apparent that he is the Sandman—no myth but an eerie reality; he is turning to sand. And that sand that has the power to make people fall asleep.

As he tries frantically to manage the piles trickling (at times hilariously) from his clothes, Benno seeks an explanation—and a solution—to this complicated turn of affairs. After all, his life (like his body) is falling apart—his girlfriend leaves him, his boss fires him, and the sand is overtaking everything. Meanwhile, even more bewilderingly, he discovers that he and the dreaded Sandra have been sharing the same dream for the past several nights. Desperate to make sense of their shared visions in their waking lives, it seems the foes must put their differences aside, face their fears, and find the solution together—before they’re engulfed completely.

Swiss writer-director-producer Peter Luisi began this offbeat romantic comedy as a film school short with no dialogue. As a feature, it has morphed into a spirited, magical-realist tale about the importance of following our dreams and not letting life pass us by.

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