Das Haus der Schlafenden Schönen (House of the Sleeping Beauties) (2008)
Director Vadim Glowna explores such complicated issues as loneliness, guilt, remembrance, mourning, sex, death, and dying in this adaptation of Yasunari Kawabata's novel concerning a most unusual bordello catering to a most unlikely clientele. Edmond is a lonely man in his late sixties. On the advice of his older friend Kogi, Edmond visits a bordello that allows elderly men the rare opportunity to lie down beside beautiful, youthful women. The girls are narcotized before each session, ensuring that they never awaken to actually meet the clients. Presiding over this mysterious establishment is the 60-year-old Madame, a woman who assumes the caring role of mother to both the girls and the men who come to be with them. Each time Edmond lies down next to one of the girls, memories of his previous life come flooding back. Edmond wants nothing more than to disappear silently into death while basking in the glorious perfection of youth. One night, by chance, Edmond observes Madame and her helpers disposing of a corpse. But while Edmond becomes morally conflicted about what he has seen, he cannot stop himself from returning to the bordello. When Edmond begins questioning Madame about the incident, the mystery only seems to deepen. … More
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Critic Reviews for Das Haus der Schlafenden Schönen (House of the Sleeping Beauties)
Glowna presents this smoky German feature as an elegy for lost youth, but it's so tumescent with male self-pity that I couldn't wait for it to end.
Do you find this premise anything but repugnant? It offends not only civilized members of both sexes, but even dirty old men, dramatizing as it does their dirtiness and oldness.
Sure, there's copious full-frontal female nudity and an aroused male body part, but such scenes are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. There's a subtle difference, but still a difference.
Based on an acclaimed novella by Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata, the film is one of those self-consciously atmospheric literary adaptations that suffer from a surfeit of symbolism and pretentiousness.
Not even the august presence of Maximilian Schell can dispel the odor of fusty smut that clings to House of the Sleeping Beauties.
A meandering, self-indulgent rumination on old age, death and unfulfillable desire, German actor-director Vadim Glowna's adaptation of Yasunari Kawabata's surreal, ironic short story gets everything but the surrealism and irony right.
Most bad movies are simply forgettable. But some bad movies are so amazingly wrong that you feel compelled to gawk at them.
With the mounting number of first-rate foreign-language films locked out of movie theaters due to wary distributors, it's worth pondering why such laughable dreck as German director Vadim Glowna's House of the Sleeping Beauties actually made it through.
It's easy to feel as drowsy as any of the titular ladies while watching this misogynistic, soporific contemplation of old age, mortality and T&A.
...keeps things moving even when there is actually little going on besides morbid ruminations and deep drifts of sleep.
If ever there was a paradigm of insufferable European art-house pretentiousness, this is it.
Despite the fact that its premise sounds like it was dreamed up by a pervert who depends on that date rape drug for a social life, this macabre molestation mystery proves to be easy to swallow.
Telling what amounts to a rather simple story, Glowna puffs up his exposition with quotes from Chinese poetry, rounds of heavy-handed symbolism and experiments in multiple narration.
Steeped in European sensibilities, "House of the Sleeping Beauties" is a melancholy diary of human frailty juxtaposed against a fuzzy palate of artistic exploitation.
A meditation on life, death, sex, revenge, religion and peace that is involving despite its ponderous pace.
Audience Reviews for Das Haus der Schlafenden Schönen (House of the Sleeping Beauties)
A very sensual film that explores loneliness and innocence, and does so in a very low-key, almost mystical way. The main character, Edmond (Vadim Glowna, who also directed), carries most of the action and the dialog, delivering soliloquies that evoke his pain at losing his wife and daughter some 15 years before, a loss he still has not been able to move beyond. Angela Winkler is the Madame of this strange establishment, and one is never sure of her actions or her motives. Is she what she seems, or is she hiding something darker? Kogi, (Maxmillian Schell) is Edmond's friend, who counsels him and who introduces him to this world and seems to have questionable motives. This is a quiet film, beautifully shot, and the interplay between the characters is subtle and leaves one with numerous possible interpretations. Not for everyone, but a very thought provoking film.More
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