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directed by Julia Leigh
Australia 2010

Jane Campion presents SLEEPING BEAUTY, a fascinating depiction of a young woman's reckless decent into a shocking world of erotic desires. Lucy (Emily Browning in a breakthrough performance) is a young university student possessed by a kind of radical passivity, letting coin tosses decide random sexual encounters and enduring her menial jobs with an uncomplaining patience. After answering an ad in the student newspaper for a lingerie waitress, Lucy is secretly initiated into the job of a Sleeping Beauty, for which she is sedated and given in absolute submission to her clients. As this unnerving experience begins to bleed into her daily life, Lucy develops the courage to break the spell and discover what happens to her while she sleeps. First-time director Julia Leigh creates a bold cinematic vision with her shocking retelling of the classic myth that poses its heroine as a rarified sex-worker confronting ideas of feminine sexuality with bravado and precision.


In outline, this might sound like either a grim cautionary tale or a prurient adventure in exploitation. And “Sleeping Beauty” does now and then take note of the bleak and lonely aspects of Lucy’s circumstances. Much more often, the camera lingers over Ms. Browning’s unclothed form, inviting the viewer’s eye to survey every inch of her milky and unblemished skin. There is a measure of soft-core titillation in this, for sure, but Ms. Leigh observes Lucy’s body and what happens to it with a dreamy detachment that is seductive and unnerving in equal measure. As well as a little ridiculous. Though the tone is quiet and the pacing serenely unhurried, “Sleeping Beauty” is at times almost screamingly funny, a pointed, deadpan surrealist sex farce that Luis Bu˝uel might have admired.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE


Theatrical Premiere: May 11th, 2011 (Cannes Film Festival)


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DVD Review: Seville - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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available on Blu-ray from England, France and Germany:




Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:42:33

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), DUB: Dolby Digital5.1 (French)
Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Seville

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: April 10th, 2012
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Chapters 12





I watched Julia Leigh's Sleeping Beauty the other night and was really intrigued by it. We follow the protagonist almost hypnotically in this deliberately paced sexual liberation, personal risk and deviance fable. Emily Browning portrays Lucy's faux-bravado brilliantly , almost completely hiding all apprehension - initiated by monetary needs, curiosity and her boredom and dissatisfaction with her home life, relationships and work. It's a fascinating tale of adventures in an underground society while discovering your own limits.

It's single-layered and interlaced in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and looks very good aside although both a shade blue and a little drab. I expect the 1080P would improve the image demonstratively. It's clear and consistent, with a shade of depth in the lesser format. 

Lossy Dolby surround tracks in both English and a French DUB are available. The film has little separation - a bit in the club scene and there is a haunting score by Ben Frost that benefits the film's moods and artistic beauty. There are optional English (SDH), yellow, subtitles (see sample below) on the NTSC DVD.

The Blu-rays seem pricey at present ('cept the German one!) but this is a film I'd like to explore more and will certainly revisit. It has a psychological mystery about it evoking Lucile Hadzihalilovic's films. I loved Emily Browning and it is certainly encouraged to adventurous cinephiles.

  - Gary Tooze



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DVD Box Cover

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available on Blu-ray from England, France and Germany:




Region 1 - NTSC


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