Award-winning novelist Julia Leigh makes a hell of a directorial debut with her quiet fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, the story of a young college student (Emily Browning) who becomes immersed in a strange world of desire when she signs on as employee of a service that drugs women and allows men -- frequently much older -- to do whatever they wish with the inert bodies (with the strict proviso that there be no penetration or damage).
Dark, provocative, erotic, the film inspires a multitude of responses, frequently within the same second of footage. And once you get past the tale's elegant mise en scene and sensuous atmosphere, don't be surprised to discover Leigh has posed some intriguing questions on love, death, and all the impulses that drive our species. Sex is 99% brain, after all.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Leigh: