Nele Wohlatz’s upcoming film, ‘Sleep With Your Eyes Open,’ is creating a buzz as its trailer debuts ahead of the Berlin Film Festival premiere, with Radiance securing world sales rights.
Wohlatz, known for her acclaimed debut ‘El futuro perfecto,’ winner of Locarno’s Golden Leopard in 2016, brings her latest creation described as “a quiet comedy of misunderstandings” set in a coastal city in Brazil. The storyline follows Kai, arriving from Taiwan with a broken heart for a holiday, and encounters Fu Ang, who could be a friend but mysteriously disappears.
The search for Fu Ang leads Kai to the tale of Xiaoxin and a group of Chinese workers residing in a skyscraper. A peculiar parallel unfolds between Kai’s experiences and Xiaoxin’s story, weaving delicate bonds over a hot, slow summer.
Wohlatz, reflecting on her inspiration, shares, “Being born in Germany and having lived in Argentina for many years as a foreigner, at the time of making the film, I felt like I had lost my sense of home. I was hoping to make a film that could take place in any city in the world. It would feature people who could go anywhere in the world and still would belong nowhere.”
Beyond the characters’ sense of rootlessness, the film carries an undercurrent of threat, hinted at by its title and references to sharks in the sea. The looming threats include violence, crime, deportation, and poverty, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.
Cinemascópio, the Brazilian company of Kléber Mendoça Filho and Émilie Lesclaux, leads the film’s production, joined by producers Violeta Bava and Rosa Martínez Rivero at Ruda Cine in Argentina, Roger Huang and Justine O. at Yi Tiao Long Hu Bao in Taiwan, and Meike Martens and Wohlatz at Blinker Filmproduktion.
– Farheen Ali