sleeping beauty | julia leigh

sleeping beauty | julia leigh

Written and Directed by Julia Leigh.

Julia Leigh’s 2011 film Sleeping Beauty is a haunting erotic fairy tale about Lucy (Emily Browning), a university student who uses her body for prostitution to earn some money. Lucy agrees to participate in an exclusive service which provides unusual sexual practices, one of which is to be willingly drugged unconscious and sleep with paying customers, the only rule that must be agreed upon is that penetration is not allowed. 

Lucy's latent state protects her from reality as she does not wake, only the spectator views the events within the silken chamber of disturbance. Dr Meredith Jones emphasises the importance of passivity in Leigh's tale of Sleeping Beauty as a state of unconsciousness that the narrative must work around, a ‘willful passivity’ that enables old naked men to encounter Lucy’s flawless pale limp body. Jones describes it as a form of radical hospitality as her body ingests what would normally be rejected. 

Inside the chamber of sleep, the camera does not move, framed with arresting stillness and uniformity, the gaze is penetrating, The performance of the players within the frame creates a heightened visceral disturbance. Sleeping Beauty was accepted in competition in the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The more I watched this film, the more I appreciated every frame. Captivating.....



Jones, Meredith. UTS. Fairy Tales Re-Imagined: Enchantment, Beastly Tales and Dark Mothers. Lecture. 13.10.2012.