Scott Barley
filmmaker & fine artist

Sleep Has Her House


The shadows of screams climb beyond the hills. It has happened before. But this will be the last time. The last few sense it, withdrawing deep into the forest. They cry out into the black, as the shadows pass away, into the ground.

Through long static takes, the film develops a contemplative, hypnotic experience, akin to paintings that move, mixing live action, still photography, and hand-drawn images.

The film is dedicated to the late French filmmaker and friend, Philippe Cote, who passed way in 2016.

It was awarded Best Film - Official Jury award at FRONTEIRA – International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival, in Goiânia, Brazil, in March 2017.

Screenings / Exhibitions

• Doclisboa, Portugal
• Festival de Cine Radical, Bolivia
• Lima Independiente International Film Festival, Peru
• Fronteira International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival, Brazil

Reviews / Comments

"Sleep Has Her House is sublime!"
– Nicole Brenez

"There are moments within Sleep Has Her House of such exquisite and subtle rendering of ‘moving light in place’ that I have always dreamed of experiencing in the cinema. A black forest film to be entered into only with great care and caution. Projection in pitch black darkness is a must - like Sartre, there must be no exit (signs) here. One then has to find one's own way back home - at day's end, at land's end, at world's end, at film's end. But look up! As Stan Brakhage once exclaimed, "The stars are beautiful!" Scott Barley has dared us to imagine a cinema of such fragile - and terrifying - beauty (reclaiming once again that real definition of "awesome", the sublime) that places both the film and the viewer on equal footing of corporal existence by the closing credits." – Phil Solomon, filmmaker

"For me, this is the most impressive cinematic experience since Lav Diaz' MELANCHOLIA (2008)."
– Michael Schleeh, film critic

"A film that goes deep, very deep. It is not just a film. It is not just visuals. And it is not just a combination of visuals and sound. It is a journey. It is an experience. It digs deep into your soul, into your dreams. It takes you into another world, into the underworld [...] The strongest film I have seen in years. There have been many films which touched me, but not in the same way. Sleep Has Her House stands out." – Nadin Mai, The Arts of Slow Cinema

"Nocturnal snapshots of heaven descending into Earth." – Filipe Furtado, film critic

"Sleep Has Her House has impressed me more than every epic since [Stanley Kubrick's] Barry Lyndon."
– Samuel Alexander, film critic

"There are images that can't be described even with all the adjectives in the world. The most magical and visceral film experience I've had from cinema!" – Dustin Chang, Twitchfilm, IndieWire, Screen Anarchy

"The darkness of Sleep Has Her House plunges the viewer into a transfigured world, dominated by the presence of the unknown. An apocalypse that comes in the form of an incredible sensorial shock – not only affecting the eyes of the viewer but the ears, and imagination." – Lorenzo Baldassari, Lo Specchio Scuro

"A deep dive into a dark ocean of perception." – Frank Viso, Visione Sospesa

"They are landscapes, but above all, forms. They gain new proportions and meanings as they go through the process of mutation. They are mountains, but they can be ghosts. The dreamy tone of these landscapes heightens the sense of despair and meaning of the filmed / created space. Like James Benning, Jem Cohen and Nikolaus Geyrhalter, to name a few, Scott Barley makes observation his trigger for space and time remodeling. Sleep Has Her House is a perverse game of creation and manipulation of certainties, using the cinema as great hypnosis." – Pedro Tavares, Cineplayers

"There was Epstein. Bresson. Antonioni. Brakhage. Tarr. Grandrieux. Barley. The greatest experience I have had from cinema." – MUBI review

"A unique, powerful, eerie and stunning experience, a real masterwork!" – MUBI review

"This film affected me so profoundly that when the dawn finally broke, I felt like I had been lost in the night for days. My anxieties, fears and uncertainties were brought to light in the heart of darkness by Barley's absence of image as the film built to its terrifying climax. To take you so far from the everyday, yet bring you crashing back to the reality of our world, was something truly magnificent." – MUBI review

"The best sensory and contemplative experience of my life. This movie is absurd, I have no words for this work. I am extremely grateful for the privilege of having seen the movie in a theater." – Filmow review

"The final third is one of the greatest atmospheric experiences I've ever had from sound or image [...] feeling like I was naked pummelled into oblivion." – MUBI review

"[Sleep Has Her House] is not a masterwork, it's a miracle!" – MUBI review

"One of the five most important works of cinematic vision in the last ten years." – MUBI review

"More than an experimental film, it's pure art." – Letterboxd review

"This film is incredible. A sweet, and at time somber, meditation on the night. Any fans of contemporary contemplative cinema should give this one a view." – MUBI review

"We may, potentially, have a motherfuckin' master in our midst; one of the best final shots I have ever seen."
– Letterboxd review


Best Film - Official Jury award - Fronteira International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival, Brazil