A few days ago, I happened to be strolling around the mall with my friends when I stumbled upon this big poster with the word “P120” denoting the price of a ticket of one showing of Sleepless film and those 3 numbers were enough to lure me in. I was immediately struck with affinity mainly because of the cheap price but also because I’ve seen several photos of this movie lunging on Facebook and twitter. What’s the big deal? Hesitant to watch a local indie film (sad), my friends declined my offer and left me in that dark room alone with my self and with the less than a hundred curious movie-goers.
A lot may have gotten intrigued by the posters that have spread out across social media about this film denoting a love story between two people from the call center industry. I myself was guilty of thinking such. But as many indie films have been happy to show, indie films are so much more than that, leaving cinema-goers dumbfounded and shocked when the last frame finally pans upfront. Yes, kids. No matter how much chemistry you see between the two main characters of this story, no, this is not a love story, well at least in the context of relationship and romance.
It opens with BP Valenzuela’s Steady, a beautiful composition whose melancholic nature gets hidden and trapped in the upbeat flow of the song. Yes, indie music in indie films. I live for this. Sleepless is a film directed by Prime Cruz, his first feature-length one, starring Glaiza de Castro (Gem) and Dominic Roco (Barry). This production graced the QCinema International Film Festival back in 2015.
We all have our own places to turn to whenever encapsulated by loneliness: whether it is an open parking lot, your own cramped room, the fringes of the urban world, whatever it may be. When everything in this reality is too much, we escape to our own solitude. In this movie, it is specifically lovely places in high altitudes overlooking just about anything. Art.
Look at those parallel lines!
Barry and Gem’s friendship is rooted on a common denominator: insomnia. Both being tangled and stuck in the gritty schedule the call center industry has to offer, they find home in each other as they struggle to live through the demands of their job. If you have been well-immersed in the commercial and Hollywood world, you’ll immediately file this story under the boy meets girl and falls in love kind.
If you think that’s the kind of movie Sleepless is, be ready to be disappointed. In so many ways but one.
Because Sleepless is not a romantic story. It is a beautiful story of how two people come to find healing with the other’s soul. It is a story of brokenness mended by letting go and having the courage to move forward despite the seemingly insurmountable hindrance in front of us.
There is just too much substance in every scene and line the whole film that almost every word matters. Devoid of all unnecessary drama, the film can actually make you hear your heart let out a glad sigh and gratitude to the director for not going any further than the scene a few seconds ago. The entirety of the film is calm that you never realize you were being slowly shattered until the credits scene roll up.
It approaches drama in a really mature way, bit by bit, not revealing the full backstories of everything yet has managed to reveal the pains that have surmounted from them in a very apparent way. Sleepless is not one of those fascinating and amazing story that is one for the books. It’s simply a narrative of two people coping day by day. It shows reality to its extremities it is actually ironic.
This film is a mix of beauty and reality, both things you thought aren’t miscible to one another.
In the end, I left the cinema with tears, awed by its beauty and ready to chat my friends who ditched me to tell them how much of a wonder they have let pass.
(And also for leaving me alone)
(ctto) owners of the photos.