Somniloquies is a radical experiment staged by Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor in the field of visual anthropology and based on audio recordings of New York’s most famous “sleepwalker” of the 1970s, Dion McGregor.
“I’ve been waiting for you, come inside, but be careful, be very careful”, a male voice murmurs, as if inviting the viewer to a private event for those few admitted. The directorial duo of Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor have aimed at immersing the spectator in the unconsciousness of Dion McGregor—a singer and musician in 1970s New York, who wrote the song Where Is the Wonder for Barbra Streisand, and was famous for talking in his sleep.
Somniloquies derives from McGregor’s audio tapes documenting his somnambulic monologues, and, just as the directors’ previous film Leviathan, it came out as a result of their research at the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University. Naked bodies of sleeping people appear on the screen accompanied by audio recordings recounting explicit bizarre dreams, creating a weird mix of verbal and bodily voyeurism and exhibitionism. Fantasies, existential fears, absurd stories, and even jokes—Dion McGregor keeps it all, and much more, in his own head.
Director Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
France, 2017. 73 minutes.