Young Americans

TWO GATES OF SLEEP

  • Description
  • Somewhere on the Mississippi-Louisiana border, brothers Jack and Louis prepare for their mother's imminent death. Their communication limited to glances, they hunt a gorgeous animal, cook a special meal and share lost moments of quiet intimacy with the woman who bore them. Once she succumbs, they ignore society's expectations and undertake an arduous journey to bury her along the riverbank. Writer/director Alistair Banks Griffin's debut feature shuns American film conventions through exactingly spare narrative techniques that magnify the tension and melancholy in every frame. Ants swarm in the dirt, trees form a green cathedral and the brothers step deeper into the muddy river. Evoking the elemental themes of Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying," TWO GATES OF SLEEP is a film of rare beauty that calls attention to seldom seen customs of the rural South. This visual meditation on nature, death and tradition points a shattering portrait of a family overcoming extraordinary circumstances to honor a final request.

©2019 American Film Institute. All rights reserved.