Sleepwalking in the Rift (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2012, USA)

Sleepwalking in the Rift is a 2012 short film by director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Fukunaga originally came to prominence with his 2009 indie film Sin Nombre, followed by his adaptation of Jane Eyre in 2011. Sleepwalking in the Rift was made before his breakout success with 2014's HBO TV series True Detective. The film is 2 minutes long and opens with a couple walking. The man is going to surprise the woman. "Is it a surprise?" the woman asks. This cuts to the image of a plane flying overhead. The woman then appears on the plane. It is revealed that we are somewhere on the African savannah, as a shot reveals a wide African sky.

The man seems to be a hunter or a sportsman of some kind. "There's nothing I need. I enjoy my work. I like it here," he tells the woman. We see the two of them seated before a fire. We see the man and woman riding horses, walking across fields - the natural vistas look like something out of a Terence Malick film. It is clear that Malick is the main source of visual inspiration here, and most people who view the film see it as some kind of tribute to Malick. 

A string section swells as the montage continues, and we overhear the woman's voice asking the man what his favorite thing is about living in Africa. The man tells her that he loves the animals and the land. We see shots of elephants and giraffes. Sleepwalking in the Rift is nice from a visual perspective, and seems to be primarily a visual effort. Some questions remain about the relationship between the man and woman, but how much can the film resolve over two minutes. The film plays more like a demo for a feature film.



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