This new film is set to revitalise independent cinema

Thursday, 10th September 2020, 1:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th September 2020, 1:38 pm

Max Richter’s Sleep, a documentary telling the story behind the composer’s work, is premiering in Europe.

Described as “My personal lullaby for a frenetic world. A manifesto for a slower pace of existence” by Max Richter, the film shows in more than 87 UK and Irish cinemas from September 11, having debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim.

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Creative partner and producer of Sleep, Yulia Mahr said: “Max and I spent most of our twenties watching films at the Everyman in Hampstead, the Curzon cinemas and any independent cinema we could get to.

"We spent our thirties at The Filmhouse and The Cameo in Edinburgh.

“We were hungry to know more of the world and there it was ... we loved those all-day Sunday screenings ... and would argue into the night about the meaning of everything we had seen.

“Max’s favourites were the Russians, Tarkovsky, of course. And I loved the French New Wave, especially Jean Rouch, and the Indie scene coming out of America at the time.

“Nothing beats cinema - that immersive experience of being engulfed in a world not your own. It’s under threat these days but home viewing, where your everyday world is still right there beside you, doesn’t cut it.

“I’m delighted that our film can play a small part in getting audiences back into independent cinemas. We all need more dream time.”

A film for these frenetic times, Max Richter’s Sleep is a meditative respite from the rush and chaos of the modern world, and a study of the universal experience of sleep.

The film follows the composer and musician (whose film credits include Shutter Island, Mary Queen of Scots and Ad Astra), and BAFTA-winning filmmaker Yulia Mahr, as they navigate an ambitious performance of his eight-hour opus Sleep at an open-air concert in Los Angeles.

The film is a ground-breaking visual portrait which echoes the contemplative essence of Richter’s work, offering a poetic depiction of the ‘liminal state’ audiences experience at a live performance - where fans slumber through the overnight concert in beds, not seats.

Mahr’s personal archive is woven with performance footage from Berlin, Sydney, and Paris to create a rich portrait of a shared artistic process, with contributions to illuminate both science and story behind it.

Max Richter’s eight-hour Sleep concert is the live incarnation of his hugely successful 2015 album of the same name.

The landmark piece was premiered in London four years ago (the longest single continuous piece of music ever broadcast live on radio) and has since been performed in such venues as the Sydney Opera House, Grand Park in Los Angeles, Kraftwerk Berlin, the Philharmonie de Paris and at the Great Wall of China.

Richter and Mahr have worked together for over 25 years. At their work’s core is the belief that creativity exists as a social project that can illuminate the lives of individuals and society as a whole.

They continue to push the boundaries of music, art and technology.

Earlier this year Max Richter released his pioneering album Voices, a project inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The album is an artistic response to our turbulent times and the human potential for compassion. Yulia Mahr created breathtaking videos for the two singles All Human Beings and Mercy.

A full audio visual project will be announced later.