Düsseldorf, beginning of the seventies. Hans, a young, introverted student of Beuys, meets Ruth, a young homeless woman living in a park. Fascinated by her, he takes Ruth in and makes her the subject of his video work. When she quickly settles into the artist scene and Hans fears that he’s losing control over her, he locks her up in his workshop. He thinks he can look into her secret in the test tube of art. Art and life become inextricably intertwined.
The feature film The Sleeping Girl by artist and author-director Rainer Kirberg tells its boy-meets-girl story completely through the camera of the art student Hans. This provides for a fascinating cross of classical narrative cinema and self-reflexive video experiment. Kirberg develops a film language that seeks to solve the problem of representing art in film by using the referential system of art, while at the same time deploying the psychological wealth and emotional weight of the narrative film. The Sleeping Girl is an impressive contribution to the aesthetic repertoire of contemporary international cinema.