New 2K Restoration! Born from the vestiges of some long forgotten dream, Kaizo Hayashi’s debut film is a hauntingly beautiful ode to the silent era that yearns for a distant past—back to an illusory world teeming with new excitements, novel invention and cryptic riddles. Under the faint glimmer of an electric lamp, an aging silver-screen starlet seeks the aid of two steadfast detectives when her darling daughter, the ethereal Bellflower, is kidnapped for ransom. The sleuths find themselves caught in a heady game of cat and mouse as they journey deeper into a sleepless realm of benshi performers, archetypal villainy and never-ending serials. Transposing the silent era’s cinematic language into a work that walks the line between antiquity and fantasy, dream and waking state, To Sleep So as to Dream casts a spell over the spectator in dream-like fashion, harking back to the magical, early days of cinema.
Sponichi Grand Prize New Talent Award, Mainichi Concourse 1987
Best Independent Film and Best New Director, Yokohama Film Festival 1987
“A red herring-strewn mystery, shot in black-and-white and almost silent, Hayashi’s debut is something like a Japanese Tintin adventure made by Alain Resnais.” —TimeOut