Winter Sleepers

Theatrical Release: April 7, 2000
DVD Release: November 7, 2000


In a small skiing village in the mountains of Germany, winter has descended on its inhabitants. Laura (Marie-Lou Sellem) is a nurse and aspiring actress who lives with Rebecca (Floriane Daniel), a translator. Rebecca is currently involved with ski instructor Marco (Heino Ferch), a spoiled, callous sneak who cheats on his girl. On the perimeter is Rene, a projectionist at the local movie theater, who deals with his lack of short-term memory by constantly photographing the world around him. Away from their lives is local farmer Theo (Josef Bierbichler), a man struggling to keep his family happy and fed. One day he heads out with a horse in a trailer hitched to the back of his car. Also hiding in the trailer is his young daughter, who stowed away without permission. On a slippery road, things are about to change. A chain reaction has begun, and fate brings these different lives together. (German, with sub-titles). Winstar Cinema.

Dove Review

This symbolic story intertwines the lives of the main characters after a terrible accident takes place on an icy mountain road. Here, the filmmaker presents destiny, rather than the Almighty, as the controller of our lives. The main cast members are a wounded and libidinous bunch, evidencing little spiritual awareness. Artistically, the film has one chief merit – its cinematography. Not only has director of photography Frank Griebe set his camera in just the right spot to wow the audience visually in every scene, but he also uses the camera’s lens as a focal personality. The camera becomes a narrator. It may be the finest use of camera work to further a narrative that I have ever seen. Alas, the dispirited and carnal lifestyle of the film’s main characters, which do not change by film’s end, prohibits me from recommending this as family entertainment. As for fate, it is not destiny that governs our lives, but the will of God. “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2.

Content Description

Language: oh god 3, F-word 1, S-word 8, pissed 1, expletives 4 – Sex: partial female nudity 3, male frontal nudity 2, male rear nudity 1, fornication 3 – two couples living together outside marriage, female masturbation – Smoking: adults 3, most of the leads smoke – Drinking: adults drink in a bar on several occasions; it is implied that many people get drunk on a regular basis at this trendy bar – a woman vomits on screen – Violence: a car crash leads to the destruction of a horse and the eventual death of a child; a skier is injured on the slopes and another falls to his death off a cliff.


Company: Winstar TV and Video
Writer: Tom Tykwer and Francoise Pyszora
Director: Tom Tykwer
Producer: Stefan Arndt
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 124 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Reviewer: Phil Boatwright