Norwegian director/writer Mona Fastvold received a prestigious production grant from The Norwegian Film Institute for her directorial debut, The Sleepwalker, which was co-written by Fastvold and Brady Corbet. The Sleepwalker premiered at Sundance last January in the US competition. The two of them are next set to shoot Corbet´s directorial debut which they also wrote together, The Childhood of a Leader. Her previous credits include a wide variety of well-regarded Music Videos.
“Two semi-estranged sisters and their mates spend an uncomfortable country weekend together in The Sleepwalker, a consistently intriguing psychodrama that may nonetheless leave many viewers feeling that it’s all buildup and scant payoff. Commercial prospects look iffy for helmer/co-writer Mona Fastvold’s debut feature, which gestures toward thriller and explosive-family-secrets terrain without ever quite committing to either,” wrote the entertainment paper Variety.
“The Sleepwalker proves all too apt a title for Mona Fastvold’s debut feature, an oblique, haltingly paced drama concerning family secrets and wounded psyches. Euro fests and markets may warm to the film’s emotionally distant tone, but attracting American audiences could turn out to be a tough sell,” wrote the Hollywood reporter.
Perhaps the most daring film in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, Mona Fastvold’sThe Sleepwalker is an elliptical, borderline surreal study of childhood trauma and repressed memories. Director Fastvold lets the story simmer as the action builds in and around a secluded, half-renovated house in the woods. Ingenious use of sound design and atmospheric score drive the psychological turmoil as the film slowly reveals what the characters have been through. Actors Gitte Witt, Stephanie Ellis Christopher Abbott and Brady Corbet (who co-wrote the screenplay with Fastvold) create a mounting feeling of tension as odd behavior, inappropriate dinner stories and poor manners bring out everyone’s madness.
Mona Fastvold had her Norwegian directorial debut at Sundance January this year.