Based on a story by Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata, HOUSE OF THE SLEEPING BEAUTIES is a tender-hearted German drama that slowly becomes a tense thriller. Vadim Glowna, who also wrote and directed the film, stars as Edmond, an aging businessman who has been unable to get over the long-ago tragic death of his wife and daughter. When his friend Kogi (Maximilian Schell) tells him about a place for him to go to relax, Edmond starts frequenting the establishment, run by a mysterious madame (Angela WInkler), who arranges for old men to be able to sleep in bed with naked, nubile young women who have been injected with a substance that prevents them from waking up until the next morning, after the man has already left. There are rules about how far the man can go with the sleeping women--some that have dire consequences if broken. As Edmond continues to go to the "brothel," he insists on finding out more about the madame and her girls, which puts him on a fine line between good client and major problem. Glowna is excellent as the gloomy, lonely Edmond, desperate to find something to hold on to in his desolate life. His softness is the perfect foil for the fantastically rigid Winkler, who plays the madame with a frightening charm, hiding secrets and, perhaps, danger. Peter Weber's production design of the brothel is lushly romantic, including marvelous paintings by Christian Schad, Balthus, and others. And Nikolaus Glowna and Siggi Mueller's score never gets melodramatic, always hinting that there is something going on beneath the surface.
Description by First Run Features Home Video:
Edmond, a man in his sixties whose wife has recently passed away, is told about a secret establishment where men can spend an entire night in bed alongside beautiful, sleeping young women, who stretch, roll over and dream, but never awaken. Bedazzled by their seductive yet innocent tenderness, but distressed about the reason for their deep sleep, he delves into the mystery of the house of sleeping beauties. Based on the beautifully strange novella by Yasunari Kawabata, acclaimed writer-director-actor Vadim Glowna has crafted a mysterious thriller about loneliness, sex, eroticism and mortality.