Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The House of Sleeping Beauties (GERMAN)

(Das Haus der Schlafenden Schonen)

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Grieving Widower Turns to Hookers for Relief in Grim Drama from Germany

Edmond (Vadim Glowna) has been down in the dumps since the day his wife and daughter died in a single car accident which he suspects might have been a suicide. Now, the grieving widower is merely going through the motions, for he doesn’t see much meaning in either his job or home life anymore.

The deteriorating state of Edmond’s psyche has not been lost on his best friend, Kogi (Maximilian Schell), who tries to boost his pal’s spirits by recommending a discreet whorehouse he’s heard rumors about. Glum Ed has his chauffeur drop him off at the upscale escape which happens to cater specifically to lonely senior citizens.

The place is run by an officious, imperious madam (Angela Winkler) who explains that johns get to spend the night with a drugged, naked young thing on the condition that they never attempt to arouse the girls from their very deep sleep. Edmond agrees, and soon realizes that a warm attractive body is just the comfort he’s subconsciously been craving. So, he becomes a regular customer, and the visits seem somehow to offer him at least an intermittent escape from his intractable depression.

Unfortunately, all is not on the level, and a big surprise lays in wait in “The House of Sleeping Beauties,” a macabre mystery based on the Japanese language novella by Yasunari Kawabata. For, while economist Milton Friedman might have warned that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, Mr. Kawabata seems to be suggesting that there’s also a bigger price than money to pay for taking pleasure in feeling up semi-comatose coeds.

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, the picture’s surprising twist leads to a resolution which makes the molestation easier to swallow. Viva Viagra!

Very Good (3 stars)


In German with subtitles.

Running time: 99 minutes

Studio: First Run Features

To see a trailer for The House of Sleeping Beauties, visit:

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