Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top Ten Films of 2011: #5

Directed by Ulrich Köhler 
Starring: Pierre Bokma, Jean-Christophe Folly, Jenny Schily 

 The life of the third-world missionary has been well-documented on film, usually through focusing on one particular man and his struggle with local authorities. This year's "Sleeping Sickness," whose director Ulrich Köhler won Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear last February, chooses to focus on two men entering this world at different points in time, up to the moment where their paths eventually cross. The film isn't as structured as definitely as it sounds, picking up where it leaves off with Pierre Bokma and resuming with Jean Christophe Folly’s Alex, a doctor seeking to improve the treatment of Sleeping Sickness in deepest Africa. With Alex’s story of wholesome promise comes uncertainty, rumination, and disconnection. When does isolation cease to be selfless? Does dedication become a sickness of its own? Like lichen, the film creeps up and lays these questions in your lap just as it’s drawing to a close, allowing bewilderment to crystallise into psychological wealth, and eventually into a cyclical sense of serenity.

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