Sundance is a place for discovery, where new talent can shine in front of an audience hungry for revelation. With their new film “The Sleepwalker,” co-screenwriters Mona Fastvold and Brady Corbet (she directs, he stars) have auspiciously debuted their creative partnership, which is already three screenplays deep. (He will direct their next feature, “The Childhood of a Leader,” starring Robert Pattinson, Tim Roth and Juliette Binoche, later this year, and a third project will follow.)
In “The Sleepwalker,” Kaia (Gitte Witt) and Andrew (Christopher Abbott, formerly Charlie on “Girls”) are a young, seemingly happy couple renovating her family home, a foreboding modern monolith in western Massachusetts. A sudden visit from Kaia’s pregnant sister Christine (Stephanie Ellis) and her fiancé Ira (Corbet) upset the placid dynamic, stirring up Andrew’s angry tendencies and unearthing long-buried sisterly secrets (read our review here).
With the sinister-yet-beautiful house acting as a fifth character, “The Sleepwalker” uses intense sound design and an evocative soundtrack (by Norwegian singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche, Fastvold’s ex) to highlight the unraveling family mysteries, leaving the audience on edge throughout most of the film.
We caught up with the pair on Main Street at the Sundance Film Festival, where we talked about the challenges Fastvold faced in directing her first film (Hurricane Sandy!), Robert Pattinson’s admirable career choices, and their burgeoning alliance.