Hello, welcome to the Friday Night Movie of the Week by the Spyderwoman from the Black Lagoon.
Last week the Spyderwoman from the Black Lagoon recommended the retro classic film: The Man Who Fell to Earth, with David Bowie. Reminiscent of the book “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein, the film is an adaptation of another book titled “The Man Who Fell To Earth” by Walter Tevis.
This week, however, we have a very different film recommendation not based on a book. First off, this sci-fi film directed and written by the Hispanic filmmaker from New York, Alex Rivera, received so many awards that I can list only a few of the most important like Sundance, Berlin, Chicago, Independent Spirit, and Gotham, so you can see the impact Sleep Dealer as of its French premiering in 2008.
Writer, Director, Cast, Production & Distribution
The production companies that brought SLEEP DEALER to stardom, a project filmed in Mexico in its entirety with Hispanic talent Luis Fernando Peña, Metzli Adamina, and Jose Concepcion Macias may be little known but represent two of the best independent production companies Likely Story, and This and That Productions founded by Ted Hope, founder of Amazon Studios. Both companies are at the leading edge in film with many big name actors attached and Maya Entertainment distribution in the US.
Plot and Message
Released in 2008, Sleep Dealer takes us to future militarized world demarked by enclosing walls on all sides. This film makes me wonder if this the world we are building which could become a reality sooner than later. Machines have substituted human labor but are virtually operated by people on the other side of the wall incessantly directing the tasks carried out robots in the agricultural, construction, and manufacturing industries.
Another important characteristic of this film, (at least to me) is that it breaks the pattern of the hero with a mission on his journey facing obstacles he must overcome to win. Although there is the main character, and there is a romance, but in this film there is more of a triad, three guys (two men a women) actively moving the plot along trying to hack the global network code by which so they can be free to interact with each other and live wherever they please without having to work as virtual slaves to keep the robots working for the elite privileged. Without ever having to deal with immigration issues from people coming from the other side of the border which is heavily guarded, the citizens within the walls dam and own the river water preventing people on the other side from farming.
Where can you see this Film?
Rotten Tomatoes’Tomatometer gives it a 70% although the audience showed a 50% approval rating. That was in 2008, there is a different perspective today.
The cost of production could not be found for free but every outlet says it is a low budget movie. What exactly is a low budget movie, it could go from a few thousand to millions before it gets to be a mega production? In my opinion, the explosions, drones, and robot farm workers had to cost a pretty penny. I believe it was in the $5 million range, at least, even with Mexican extras in Mexican locations which must have been low-cost.
To give you an idea of the plot, the movie is told in flashback and recounts how one of the protagonists, Memo Cruz, who was working as a sleep dealer, called so because they work until exhaustion keels them in one of many factories set up by the neighboring superpower, is suspended by cables plugged into their arms and backs connecting them to their assigned robot assigned.
I am not going to ruin it for you, just watch it. Thanks for tuning in, ’til next weekend.