“Not everyone loves the film — I’m aware of this — but filmmaking is not a popularity contest.”
Julia Leigh always had it coming. You don’t make a movie about a cash-strapped university student who allows herself to be sedated then ravished by elderly men belonging to an Eyes Wide Shut-like secret sex society without expecting a backlash.
What is surprising, however, is the expected animosity toward the Sydney writer-director’s debut feature Sleeping Beauty began at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where it competed for the Palme d’Or alongside the latest works by Terrence Malick, Lars von Trier and Pedro Almodovar.
Directed by Julia Leigh
Rated MA 15+
There are shocks aplenty in this debut feature from Sydney novelist-turned-filmmaker Julia Leigh about a cash-strapped university student (Emily Browning) lured into a high-end Eyes Wide Shut-style prostitution ring.
But what really has angered critics is not the nudity and the perverse nature of the sexuality but Leigh’s chilly, distanced Michael Haneke-influenced approach which has made challenging, borderline absurd material even more difficult swallow.