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.
“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
Available streaming territory: U.S. only