Sunday Shorts: “In a Time for Sleep” (2016)
“In a Time for Sleep” (“Bir Uyku Vakti”) is the third short film directed by Tofiq Rzayev to be covered by Loud Green Bird. So it’s fitting that it should kick off the Bird’s second themed-post day, “Sunday Shorts.” Every Sunday, Loud Green Bird will cover short films, many of which will be from indie filmmakers.
Produced in Azerbaijan, this short drama is a surprisingly feminist tale by two male writers, Rzayev and Mehmet Fatih Güven. Güven also appears in the film as the sexist, philandering Arda.
At the end of an evening dinner, Arda gets into an intense argument with his new girlfriend Leyla (Goknur Danishik). The outcome is bad for Arda, but young Leyla learns something about freedom. She also discovers who she really is, deep inside, with the help of a mysterious woman (Elif Barut) who appears at Arda’s door.
“In a Time for Sleep” tells its story well. It immediately hooks the viewer in the first act. A rapidly rising conflict leads to a rash decision that places Leyla in a serious predicament. All of this happens before the opening title card. The subsequent turn-of-events in the second act delivers a more subtle surprise. The resolution of the third act completes a 180-degree turn from the plot’s original direction.
Rzayev’s cinematography enhances the tone of this story. The framing of his shots capitalizes on his cast’s visually expressive acting. The shadows and narrow spaces of the first and second acts contrast with the light and space of the third. The editing (also by Rzayev) underscores the story’s pace. The first act’s tense rapidity gradually slows over the course of the rest of the film, matching the flow of the narrative.
Rzayev’s editing also makes judicious use of original stock footage by Mitch Davies and VFX by David Kislik. The original score by Gergo Elekes and original songs by Serif Ahmet Ege accentuate the film’s changing tone. The short has a runtime of about 15 minutes; English subtitles supplement its Turkish dialogue.
Loud Green Bird’s Rating: 8 out of 10 stars on IMDb.