German Schlaf Movie Sleep Movie Investigated

German Schlaf Movie Sleep Movie Investigated
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Over on the Discord chat channel (which has exclusive channels for Patreon members, but a wide open all-access channel for anyone) this movie blew up the conversations and chats. Most movies sort of just percolate over there… little bit of chatter… little bit of side conversation…. but most movies don’t coalesce into a cacophony of single-minded conversation like the German movie Sleep has. Why? I think because it had an array of things going for it. Intriguing story, lots of “what the heck?!?,” family dynamics, and maybe even a dollop of German nationalism? So, all that to say – the German movie Sleep is a highly recommended THiNC. experience that you really have to check out. Let’s do this thing – “German Schlaf Movie Sleep Movie Investigated”.

Want to watch Schlaf (Sleep in English) online?? You can check it out at one of these fine online streaming providers:

Quick Sleep Movie Overview

We are going to speedrun the movie Sleep – we’ll just talk through the skeleton of the movie, literally the basic details of literally what happens moment by moment. Then, afterwards, we’ll dive deeper as we try and explain it… try and understand what the heck is going on here. Alright?

As the movie opens, Marlene, an airline steward, is obviously having troubles, and her daughter, Mona, is worried about her. Marlene had been dropped off at an orphanage, she doesn’t know her family, doesn’t know her lineage. But her nightmares are filled with visions of a very specific hotel looking location. She’s been psychically connected to this place of terror… but why? For what purpose. Marlene tells Mona that she is running a leg out to somewhere in the Middle East, but actually, she heads to a hotel location that she has obviously been looking for for quite some time now. Marlene goes there, but then has a full-on meltdown, a complete unraveling. And Mona is called to come retrieve her.

After installing her mother, who is in a catatonic state, in a hospital, Mona heads back to the Hotel to talk to the owners to find out why her mother had gone there… what she was up to. Quickly she too begins having her own nightmares, is Mona heading down the same rabbit hole of terror that her mother trailed down? She realizes that all three men – Uwe, Max, and Heino – that created this hotel committed suicide. And Lore? She is the beneficiary of the hotel after all three pinnacles of the town and area die. The question that Mona begins to have? How does she know when she is sleeping, and when she is awake? Is all of this just a terribly detailed nightmare?

And Mona starts to have visions of a woman named Trude. Who is this Trude? Why is she visiting her dreams and haunting her waking visions? Turns out, Trude was a woman that Otto was having an affair with. The two had had an affair, and a child was born. But Otto was to marry Lore instead… and on the night of his marriage to Lore, he tells Trude to leave. To go away. But she won’t be dismissed. And because of this defiance, Otto murders Trude, and attempts to murder the baby as well by leaving the gas on in the house. At the last second though? Here comes a woman in white, determined to clean up Otto’s mess. She checks on Trude, who is already gone, sees the gas that is on, runs and picks up the child and flees the house.

In the current time frame, Otto has had enough of Mona’s bothering inquisitions, and he attacks her, gags her, and leaves her in the basement. I mean, he has to get ready for his big gathering of his “love and restore the glory of the community” club, right? Wherein he pitches them on what this area could be, and how the hotel will be the center of this new day. But one of the women working at the hotel has had enough of Otto’s insanities, and Lore couldn’t agree more. I mean, of all people, Lore knows that Otto is insane. She is, after all, the one that binds him every night. She’s the one that knows he’s a murderer. She’s the one that has enabled his insanities all these years, but tonight something has got to change… and tonight will be the night. So she approves of the drugging of every single person at Otto’s little assembly. “Our pride is our weapon against the cult of guilt!!” Otto proclaims as the attendees cheer. Now, in Germany, it’s illegal (at least it was) to openly make movies about the 3rd Reich, but this is obviously an oblique reference to the guilt of Germany from World War II.

Eventually, the movie devolves into a scrum, and Otto and Mona struggle and fight, and it ends with Otto killing Mona, and then him burying her in the front entryway of the hotel. (Because yeah, that’s where you bury a murder victim.) But Marlene has come out of her comatose state and has started walking to the hotel. When she arrives at the hotel, she finds Mona’s burial site, but there is no Mona in the hole. What has happened? And Otto? He’s been attacked by Trude, set alight? And he is left to die there of a heart attack? Wolfram? He’s wondered out of the conference, naked, into the woods. And there is Mona, harmed, but alive, and reunited with her mother. The End! Phew.

That’s Not The End of Sleep!

Yeah, that wasn’t the end. And if you missed the titles scene, you missed a lot. Because there is Mona, alive and well. She’s headed off to college, and she is watching as some of the kids are being inducted into the group. Mona is given a pass on the shenanigans. And as the guessing games end, Mona looks down a dark hallway, and watches as a boar walks out of the darkness and into the light. Now THAT is the end of the story.

But Sleep Made No Sense At All Whatsoever

First things first – you need to grapple with the fact that there were dreams, and premonitions, and visions of the past and future occurring to these characters. As the movie kicks off, Marlene is seeing visions of her family’s hotel. A family she has never met, nor does she know. The images are just coming in waves of chaos, she sees images of the attic, of the pool, of the front of the hotel, of Trude her mother; it’s really complicated to know what is real, what is a dream, and it’s hard to make sense of it. Which brings us to how can we make heads or tails out of it all? Well, we can start to make sense of it by getting to know the players in the families.

Historically, we have the three men who created the hotel. They all committed suicide one by one. Why? Christoph hints that they committed suicide due to the failure of the hotel. They dreamed big, they failed big. Otto marries Lore, but before he does, he shacks up with Trude, and has a child… Marlene. Otto murders Trude, and leaves Marlene to die in the house with the gas left on. Lore saves Marlene, and sends her to an orphanage, far away, (literally walking distance), in order to never see her again… but to also wipe her hands of this baby’s blood. Marlene grows up, begins having nightmares and visions of her family and the hotel. And she has a child of her own. Mona, her child, is aware of these problems, is worried about her mother, but can only recommend doctors to assist her. Marlene tells Mona she is taking a flight and would be back in a couple days. But actually, she was going to investigate her visions. There, at the hotel, she is overcome by the place, and goes comatose and is shuttled to hospital. This gives Mona a key to investigate what is going on with her mother. And so the game is afoot. From there, Mona tries to get under the hood of the hotel, to understand who this family is, and what was so special that it would send her mother into a catatonic state.

Thanks to Gastroschisis? for coordinating the drawings with the events

But What Is This Power?

I think there are two sides to this power struggle that we are seeing here in the movie Sleep. The first is this push from the owners of this hotel that want to restore the greatness of the Fatherland, or this specific area of Germany. It echoes distinctly of the rise to power of Germany prior to World War II. It is a purging of guilt. It is a relinquishment of their past, and an active drive towards a stronger more powerful stance in the world. The second power here at play within the movie of Sleep, is that of Trude, and her revenge. She is dead, but she obviously still has power. She is seeking her revenge through that of her descendants. Now, the timeline isn’t clear, aka did she go back in time?? etc., but it makes sense to me that it was Trude who convinced the three owners to commit suicide. It wasn’t the failure of the hotel that sent them over the edge. Also, it was Trude that was calling out her daughter Marlene and drawing her back to the hotel. Two powers, evil and good, fighting for the heart of a family.

Hat’s off to Gastroschisis? for pointing out that Lore had saved one other in Mona’s line – the other being her mother.

So as Mona digs into the details of the hotel, she learns that her mother was Trude’s daughter – Otto’s illegitimate daughter. She learns this through a sleep vision of her own… wherein she is comatose, and watches as her grandmother was murdered, and Lore saved her mother first hand. And it is because of this power, because of this insight she is given from Trude, that Otto attempts to kill his granddaughter and bury her in a pit at the front of the hotel. (A decidedly shallow pit too.)

What Is the Deal with the Boars?

Now, what is the deal with all the boars? The wild hogs are interesting in that quite a deal is made to differentiate between the boars, and the sows. Marlene was given a wood carving from the collection, it even had her name scrawled on it, but it is obviously a sow, not a boar. Literally it was commented on… this isn’t me making stuff up right here. So these boars were obviously a reference to the three men, Uwe, Max, and Heino, that crafted the hotel, were mentoring Otto, and were attempting to do something new in the community. But from a spiritual, or psychological standpoint, I’m not clear what the boars represent specifically. Is the boar a German animal that was used to a certain purpose or end in myth and lore? (hahaha.)

The only reason it matters? Is because of the ending. When you get to the post credit scene, you see Mona being inducted into a house at college. She’s not required to participate in the games to get her spot. She’s just green lit in. But as she sits and watches, a boar comes stomping out of the shadows towards her. What could this mean? Could it mean that the night terrors are not over? Could it mean that she is now the evil that will subjugate others? What could this scene possibly mean? After thinking about this for the better part of a weekend, I think I have the answer.

What Does the Ending of the Movie Sleep Mean?

As listed above, the end credit scene of the movie could indicate a lot of possible meanings. But I believe the one that makes the most sense, and hews closest to the overall meaning of the movie throughout, is that Otto is not dead. I believe that Mona, there as a Freshman in college, is realizing that although she is moving on with her life, that she is recovering, she is realizing that the threat from her past is not over. If it isn’t Otto that is actually alive after his encounter with Trude, then could it be that Christophe, as the heir to the property is now a threat? It’s an indication that the terror that her mother went through is now coming for her… and that there is something that Trude thinks has been left undone. Does that make sense?

I mean, I could be wrong here – maybe I didn’t understand this movie nearly as well as Gastroschisis? did, but I did grapple with it quite a bit. What did you guys think of the movie? What could the ending of the movie possibly mean? Let’s talk about it in the comments section together.

Edited by: CY