Songwriter Dion McGregor became famous in the 1960s for narrating his dreams in his sleep. His flatmate recorded him doing so.
In their new film somniloquies, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel overcome the boundaries between inner dreamscapes and human bodies. At the start, flowing forms can be seen and a gentle, undefinable sound made out in the background. McGregor's voice appears and makes an invitation: “I have expected you, come-on in, I said I would grant an interview”. The more we listen to him and enter into his dreamworld, the clearer the contours of the sleeping bodies become, before they seem to dissipate once again. The dreaming man speaks with people who are sawing open his body, removing his organs and stitching him back up. As we find out how painful he finds the stitches, we ask ourselves for how long we’ll want to follow the camera, which sometimes seems to caress the bodies tenderly, but at other times seeks to pierce them almost brutally, like an x-ray. Just in time, we hear his voice: "Let’s go to future land (…) it’s shining near the corner". In this case, sleeping in the cinema means pushing forward to its very limits.
by Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor France / United Kingdom / USA 2017 English 73’ Colour


Director Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Cinematography Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Editing Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Sound Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Mike Barr
Sound Design Gilles Bénardeau
Producers Valentina Novati Norte Productions, Verena Paravel S.E.L
Producer Lucien Castaing-Taylor S.E.L

Produced by

Norte Productions


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Verena Paravel

Born in 1971 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. She studied Anthropology at the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines in Paris and at the University of Toulouse. Since 2008, she has worked with Lucien Castaing-Taylor at the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard.

Filmography (selection)

2008 7 Queens; 21 min. 2010 With Such a Wistful Eye, Interface Series #1; 15 min., Video Installation · Presented with Severe Pain, Interface Series #5; 23 min., Video Installation · Foreign Parts; 82 min., co-directed by J.P. Sniadecki 2012 Leviathan; 87 min., co-directed by L. Castaing-Taylor, Berlinale Forum Expanded 2013 2016 Canst Thou Draw Out Leviathan with a Hook; Four-part project, co-directed by L. Castaing-Taylor 2017 somniloquies

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017

Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Born in Liverpool in 1966. He studied Philosophy, Theology, and Anthropology. Castaing-Taylor is a filmmaker, anthropologist, and ethnographer who works as a professor of Visual Arts and Anthropology at Harvard University, where he is also the director of the Sensory Ethnography Lab.


1990 Made in USA; co-directed by Ilisa Barbash 1993 In and out of Africa; 59 min., co-directed by Ilisa Barbash 2009 Sweetgrass; 101 min., co-directed by Ilisa Barbash, Berlinale Forum 2009 2012 Leviathan; 87 min., co-directed by Verena Paravel, Berlinale Forum Expanded 2016 Canst Thou Draw Out Leviathan with a Hook; Four-part project, co-directed by Verena Paravel 2017 somniloquies

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017