Schlafkrankheit (Sleeping Sickness)
Ulrich Köhler, 2011
NYFF Main Slate
Country: Germany/France/Netherlands | French, German, Dutch and Bassa with English subtitles | Running time: 91m
Pierre Bokma (Ebbo Velten)
Jean-Christophe Folly (Alex Nzila)
Jenny Schily (Vera Velten)
Hippolyte Girardot (Gaspard Signac)
Maria Elise Miller (Helen Velten)
Sava Lolov (Elia Todorov)
Francis Noukiatchom (Dr. Monese)
Ali Mvondo Roland (Ruhemba)
Isacar Yinkou (Joseph)
“If you can’t bear Germany, welcome back here.”
A Berlin School director in the groove of Joseph Conrad and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. An exploration of modern day colonialism, in the guise of medical humanitarian aid.
Ebbo Velten and his wife Vera have spent two decades combating an epidemic of sleeping sickness in the villages of Cameroon. After a visit from their teenage daughter, Vera returns to Europe while Ebbo remains behind. A young Parisian doctor—a Frenchman born to Congolese parents—travels to Africa to evaluate the efficiency of Ebbo’s program for a report to the funders.
Ulrich Köhler’s first feature film Bungalow debuted in the Panorama section of the Berlinale in 2002. His next feature, Montag kommen die Fenster premiered at Berlinale Forum in 2006. Schlafkrankheit premiered in competition at Berlinale 2011, where Köhler won the Silver Bear for Best Director.