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Upon awakening to a bizarre collection of scattered debris, a young woman attempts to find an explanation. Suddenly a stranger in her own home, she struggles to escape her unwelcome guests. Based on Henry Fuseli’s painting ‘The Nightmare’, Mare visualizes the emotional struggle of narcolepsy.

Director’s Vision

Mare’s logline is rather simple and banal. “A young woman seeks out someone who has entered her house when she is between sleep and vigil”.

But what I really wanted to talk about, and how I envisioned it is a little bit deeper. I wanted to make a film about narcolepsy for a long time. My mother has been a narcolepsy patient since she was 28 years old, and now she is 62. I grew up my whole life seeing her suffer from this condition, and how something as harmless as a “sleep disorder” can turn your life upside down.

Asking her about some of her symptoms, we ended up talking about sleep paralysis. It is the feeling of being awake but not being able to move, as if you were sleeping normally. It’s a fantasy – in reality you are dreaming that you are awake. And everything feels real, so whatever you dream about you will think it actually happened.

She told me about this one time when she was taking a nap in the living room. She saw how my father came into the living room, walked straight to her and started choking her with his hands. She couldn’t move, she was having a sleep paralysis. When she finally managed to wake up, he was gone. Of course, it was a dream – but it felt real. And if you feel it real it doesn’t matter if it really happened or not; the memory will be there for the rest of your life. This happened while they were getting divorced but still lived in the same house.

When talking with her about it, she came up with the mythological explanation they had in medieval times for this. They said an invisible demon would sit on the chest of the sleeping woman and rape her. It was called ‘incubus’. And when I looked it up online I came across a painting that I had seen somewhere else but I never reflected upon it. It was ‘The Nightmare’ by Henry Fuseli. It was then when the inspiration came to shoot this short film and tell a bit of my mother’s condition through my own vision of the myth. Many images in the short film have a precise meaning for me, but it is still cryptic as a dream. I hope these images will resonate in the imagination of the audience and will carry a part of this story with them.