PARK CITY 2001 REVIEW: Color of a Brisk and "Sleepy Gal," Munch's Poetic Return

Patrick Z. McGavin

(indieWIRE/01.26.01) -- With his third feature, "The Sleepy Time Gal," the highly gifted director Christopher Munch has adroitly merged the romantic elusiveness of "The Hours and Times" with the poetic rapture of "Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day." Munch specializes in the pain and emotional debilitation of confronting the unobtainable. This hypnotic and beautiful Dramatic Competition work represents the most successful realization of his distinctive aesthetic.

"The Hours and Times" was suffused by a nearly overpowering melancholy, the gulf between what is longed for and what is possible. "Color" was a more problematic work, visually beautiful and deeply impressive in the juxtaposition of archival footage and period recreation, though the characters were too remote, the narrative line too cluttered to evince emotional clarity.

Munch remains far too knotty and diffuse a filmmaker to ever achieve popular acclaim, and this work has certainly divided audiences and critics. But "Sleepy Time Gal" is unquestionably the work of a natural and talented artist. The point of view, depth of imagination and the tactile, sensuous imagery attests to Munch's physical talent. Just as important, his stylistic and formal intelligence is integrated within the sharply defined emotional register of the characters. That is clear from the film