House of the Sleeping Beauties
German writer/director/actor Vadim Glowna has adapted Yasunari Kawabata's novella into an introspective erotic drama about Edmond (well played by Glowna), an aged German businessman still shell-shocked from the accidental death of his wife and daughter 15 years earlier. Edmond's best friend Kogi (played by Maximilian Schell) advises that he visit a house for older men where Edmond can pay to spend the night sleeping next to a beautiful nude woman. The women have been knowingly drugged by the house Madame (played by Angela Winkler) so that they will not awaken during the night. The Madame baits Edmondabout his due date with death as his visits become habitual even after he witnesses a corpse being secreted away one night. Edmond's preoccupation with death and sex come through in surreal monologues about his past that carry the story along. Steeped in European sensibilities, "House of the Sleeping Beauties" is a melancholy diary of human frailty juxtaposed against a fuzzy palate of artistic exploitation. It's a textbook arthouse movie content to leave narrative threads dangling in favor of creating an atmosphere of reclusive personal liberation.
(First Run Features) Not Rated. 99 mins. (B-)
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