Die Schläferin

The Sleeper
Two newspaper articles, ten years apart, two different women, the same wording. In 2001 the “Göttinger Zeitung” wrote that Margit (69) had lived a secluded life as an inconspicuous woman. In 2011 the “Hamburger Abendblatt” stated that Irina (65) had lived in seclusion, a non-descript woman. Up to the moment of their appearance in these newspaper lines, both women were invisible, forcefully concealed by their roles as wives and homemakers. Only for a brief moment did they claim visibility. Through acts of violence.
The short film The Sleeper reconstructs and imagines the stories of these two women who were extrinsically determined throughout their lives, struggling to express themselves in vain until the only way for them to end the spiral of every-day violence was to resort to violence themselves. The cinematic narrative, too, oscillates between documentation and fiction. Everyday scenes, translated into animated still lives in the film, suggest that something is about to happen or just took place. The character of the homemaker seems omnipresent though she never appears on the scene, just as the actual protagonists Margit and Irina remain invisible.
by Alex Gerbaulet
with Alex Gerbaulet, Susanne Sachsse, Sibylle Dordel
Germany 2018 German 17’ Colour Documentary form


  • Alex Gerbaulet
  • Susanne Sachsse
  • Sibylle Dordel


Written and Directed by Alex Gerbaulet
Cinematography Jenny Lou Ziegel
Editing Phillip Scheffner
Sound Design Simon Bastian
Sound Tom Schön
Assistant Director Ines Meier
Art Director Tessa Kate Lee, Tom Schön
Co-director Mirko Winkel, Tim Schramm
Producers Alex Gerbaulet, Caroline Kirberg

Alex Gerbaulet

Alex Gerbaulet lives in Berlin and works as an artist, filmmaker, and producer. Since 2014 she has been part of the production platform pong film, and from 2020 to 2021 was a grant recipient at the Berlin Artistic Research Grant Programme/gkfd. Her artistic work examines how reality and memory can be represented visually. Her films move between video art, essay films, and documentaries, between activist impulses and fictionalized reflection. Her recent films include: Die Schläferin (2018), as well as Tiefenschärfe (2017) and Sonne Unter Tage (2022), the latter two made with Mareike Bernien.


2015 Schicht (Shift); 29 min. 2017 Tiefenschärfe (Depth of Field); with Mareike Bernien, 15 min. 2018 Die Schläferin; with Mirko Winkel, Timm Schramm, 17 min. 2022 Sonne Unter Tage

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022