Director: Gabriele Toresani
Writer: Stefano Lazzati
Starring: Claudio Abbiati, Ilario Carvelli, Dora di Mauro
Dario has been awake for 127 days. There is a presence in his house that haunts him: his baby boy. As his problems at work and in every other part of his life seem to grow and get out of control, his grasp on what’s real seems to fade, hallucinations and reality start to mix and blend. Desperate, Dario sees only one way out: he has to kill his son.
The opening scene pans to a baby monitor, only a light crackle of static can be heard. Cutting quickly to a close up of the gaunt looking Dario (played by the fantastic Davide Umiliata), reminiscing about more peaceful times, or so we think! A man we soon learn has not slept in 127 days. The almost silent room then fills with the shriek of the forever off screen son, a quality that reminds us that Dario is not dealing with the issues at hand. We are now fully aware why Dario hasn’t been getting much rest. For anybody who has children or has minded children we will all at some point in time cast a thought of frustration towards our child but as the pressure builds in Dario’s life he’s looking to silence his son for good.
Without spoiling this little gem and to let you the reader enjoy it all for yourself I will keep as vague as possible, as every scene is oozing with detail. We are taken on a whirlwind ride in 14min as this short brings to the fore issues that everyone can relate to, which have been all intensified through the sleep deprivation that Dario is suffering from. Intimacy, anger, confusion, isolation, Dario’s whole reality is distorted. We are unsure as the audience where dreaming ends and reality begins for Dario. He tells his doctor he does not have micro sleeps yet Dario can be seen waking from these when friends and colleagues interrupt them. Each time we are thrown into lustful fantasies tainted with the frustrations of the restless child and the violent urges that now accompany it.
Director Gabriele Toresani, writer Stefano Lazzati and editor Marco Circosta Garcia have given us this thought provoking and skilfully crafted short film. In Toresani’s first venture into fiction (previous work includes only a documentary film Comic-Men) we have been given a wonderful piece of work. What Sleep Depraved suffered from the most was its brief runtime, I was left wanting more. There is definite scope to expand the concept into a fully realised motion picture if Toresani and co put their craft at work once more.
A must watch.