Sleep Dealer was the toast of Sundance back in 2008, picking up two important awards, a glowing review by the New York Times‘ A.O. Scott, and a coveted distribution deal with upstart Latino distribution company Maya Entertainment. All seemed to be going well until 2011 when, virtually without warning, Maya went under. Now, it's back for one week only in Los Angeles at the Downtown Independent!
Sleep Dealer isn’t your run-of-the-mill sci-fi movie. It’s in Spanish, it’s political, and it imagines the near future: a world of cyberbraceros, coyoteks, remotely-controlled drones, aqua-terrorists, and closed borders. Memo (Luis Fernando Peña, Sin Nombre) flees small town life in Oaxaca and heads to Tijuana. With a little bit of money and lots of small town naivete, he wanders around the big city looking for a coyotek who can turn him into a node worker. The tech version of the old “coyote” who would smuggle migrants across the border, the new coyotek implants nodes on a worker’s body, allowing the laborer to plug into a network that operates robots located on the other side of the border. The norteamericanos get what they’ve always wanted, an impenetrable southern border without losing access to endless cheap labor.
Animated dreamlike sequences, swirling colors, and trippy special effects set up the background for a love story wrapped up in the packaging of a science fiction film.The cast is rounded out by Leonor Varela (Blade II, Voces Inocentes) and Jacob Vargas (Jarhead, Traffic, and you prob remember him as Selena’s brother in Selena).
Visit the Downtown Independent's website for showtimes.