VIDEO: The Rehabilitation of Sleep (2015)

The Rehabilitation of Sleep from Josh Shaffner on Vimeo.

I love this short film.  Its painterly quality, the mood, the imagery and the story really capture the sensations and nature of the process of being an insomniac and o dreaming.

I really like Shaffner’s mix of lights and colours to create different moods. The airiness, freshness and realism of the imagery for the awaken life, and the dark golden brown rich surrealism and complexity of the images of the dream. Shaffner hand-painted all of this film, and the resulting painting as well. This being a time-lapse animation, I was expecting some level of delayed motion, which is just natural for the genre. However, the film also has a natural flow and organicity to it and somewhat mimic the tempo that some dreams have. Bosch‘s Garden of Earthly Delights and some images by contemporary Polish surreal graphic artists immediately came to mind.

When I first watched this film I thought that Shaffner is a dreamer, too. I mean, this seems not to be  just an arty abstract project of his. Firstly, from a dreamer point of view, the clip perfectly captures how shapes, characters and surroundings morph in our dreams. I think it also captures that quality of just waking up, having a dream floating around, and you close your eyes to get back to it, and then you get bits and pieces of that dream, a dream that it is not totally complete formed in your memory. Shaffner is also precise at depicting the anxiety that we get when are insomniacs, and the noisy dreamworld that we get when we get to sleep once anxiety has cast its anchor in us.

I find the rendition of dreams in art, from a purely visual point of view, very tricky because artists tend to focus on the characters or the narrative elements od the dream not on the nature of the dreaming process, which I think Shaffner does remarkably well.

There is nudity and a sex scene in the film, so not for minors.

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