Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a springboard for this remarkable drama which sees Africa through the eyes of a white expat doctor addicted to the place, and a black French doctor newly arrived to the continent. Best Director, Berlin Film Festival.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
“Sleeping Sickness is a marvel, springing off Conrad’s Heart of Darkness with its perceptive slowburn of a story about a German doctor (the splendid Pierre Bokma) stuck in Cameroon for reasons he can’t wholly explain. It’s structurally bold, making an unannounced forward leap of three years in the middle, and switching focus to the Marlow role of a young, black Parisian colleague (Jean-Christophe Folly, funny and bewildered), who’s posted to check on him… I think it’s the best thing here [in Berlin], both for confidently diagnosing the rotten state of international development in Africa, and giving us rich characters who retain a bit of mystery.” — Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
“Ulrich Köhler’s striking film, which won Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival, roams through the incongruous terrain of contemporary Africa like a restless insomniac with eyes wide open.” — Clare Stewart, Sydney Film Festival