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Tom Tykwer, writer-director of the international hit Run Lola Run, shows a more pensive side with Winter Sleepers. The film examines the lives of five characters in the aftermath of an auto accident. As with Run Lola Run, Tykwer's main concern is with chance and coincidence, and the ways people unwittingly influence the course of each other's lives. Theo, a farmer, sets off to take his horse to the vet, unaware that his daughter is hidden in the trailer. Momentarily distracted, Theo swerves to avoid a sports car coming the other way and crashes into a mountain slope, critically injuring his daughter. The sports car is covered by snow, and René, the driver, digs his way out and leaves the scene. Meanwhile translator Rebecca negotiates a stormy-but-sexy relationship with loutish ski instructor Marco, both of them unaware that Marco's stolen car was involved in the crash, and Rebecca's roommate Laura nurses the young accident victim by day and begins a tentative relationship with René by night. While Winter Sleepers doesn't have the same manic pace as Lola, Tykwer's visual style is very much in evidence--he makes beautiful images of everything from the snow-covered Bavarian mountains to a cut finger. As it moves through a series of tiny but crucial events to a truly haunting ending, Winter Sleepers is in many ways reminiscent of Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter, both in its central plot device and in its melancholy atmosphere of fatal inevitability.

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FLV5255 Winter Sleepers DVD (1997/Tom Tykwer) $13.99