Two Gates of Sleep

Alistair Banks Griffin, USA 2010, 78’

Jack and Louis live with their mother in a lonely cabin among meadows and forests of Mississippi. When the mother dies, the brothers set out on a journey to bury her in the place of her choosing. Their arduous journey upriver slowly turns into a live-or-die battle with nature.

The brothers live cut off from civilization and are one with their surroundings, physically bonded with nature in an animal-like relationship. They share nature’s rawness. The film includes only a few lines of dialogue; the brothers’ contact with the world is far more primal and atavistic than speech. Jack and Louis’ largely silent and bitter journey with their mother’s coffin assumes a metaphysical dimension: full of hypnotizing natural beauty where nature becomes one of the main characters.

In Homer’s Odyssey, there are two gates of fleeting dreams, where true dreams are spoken of as coming through the gates of horn, false dreams as coming through those of ivory. This reference applies in the film, as one of the brothers accepts death allowing it to pass through him, while the other is so torn, he cannot handle it and move on, claims Corbet. A.B. Griffin’s film also references the tradition of European cinema, with evident metaphysical inspiration akin to Tarkovsky or Sokurov. Two Gates of Sleep is less-than-obvious, open to interpretation and quite complex under its seeming simplicity.

Karolina Kosińska

Alistair Banks Griffin

Born in 1978 in Great Britain, Griffin later moved to New Orleans. He studied painting and art history as well as film at the Rhode Island School of Design. Two Gates of Sleep, his feature-length debut, screened at Cannes in The Directors’ Fortnight section.


2002 Dear Julia (kr. m. / short)

2008 Gauge (kr. m. / short)

2010 Dwie bramy snu / Two Gates of Sleep

Cast & Crew

director Alistair Banks Griffin
screenplay Alistair Banks Griffin
cinematography Jody Lee Lipes
editing Alistair Banks Griffin, Brady Corbet
music Saunder Jurriaans, Daniel Bensi
cast Brady Corbet, David Call, Karen Young, Ross Francis, Ritchie Montgomery, Lindsay Soileau
producer Andrew Renzi, Josh Mond
production BorderLine Films
sales Recreation Media
language English
coloration colour
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