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The Sandman (2001)

"The Sandman" tells the story of the young student Nathanael who falls into madness when he realizes he's fallen in love with a robot.


David Teague


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Credited cast:
Scott Addison Clay ... Nathanael
Kristina Fleming Kristina Fleming ... Olympia
Peter Judd Peter Judd ... Copelius
Christy Pope Christy Pope ... Klara
Otto Walder Otto Walder ... Siegmund
Jean Brassard ... Spalanzani
Sandra Lupien Sandra Lupien ... The Singer
Jim Jack Jim Jack ... The Father
Craig Braun ... E.T.A. Hoffmann
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ian Gould ... Klara's Husband
James Moles James Moles ... Neighbor


"The Sandman" is a stark visual exploration of an uncanny world. Based on the classic 19th century tale by German writer/composer E.T.A. Hoffmann, the film investigates the tale's themes of obsession and madness, emphasizing expressionist imagery and theatrical style. The story relates the life of the young student Nathanael, whose childhood memories are haunted by a sinister old man. As a child, Nathanael believed this dark figure to be the mythic Sandman, who puts children to sleep by stealing their eyes. When confronted by this same evil presence as an adult, he is pushed toward madness as he tries to confront his childhood fears. Meanwhile, Nathanael finds distraction in a beautiful and glassy-eyed woman named Olympia who he spies on from his window. After dancing with her at a wild party he begins courting her, but his happiness is ill-fated. Nathanael discovers that Olympia is an automaton - a machine made of wood and clockwork - with her glassy eyes created by the terrible ... Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

27 January 2001 (USA) See more »

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User Reviews

Move over, Guy Maddin
25 June 2003 | by ekuersteSee all my reviews

This semi-silent, quasi-expressionist little number would make Guy Maddin (CAREFUL, HEART OF THE WORLD) proud to know he has an American friend in Mister Teague. David Lynch would also probably approve; this is definitely to be filed in the same cobwebbed compartment as ERASERHEAD. German silent imagery ala CALIGARI mixes perfectly with the depressing yet oddly beautiful "grass through the crumbling cracks" environment of Red Hook, Brooklyn, where much of the film was shot. The acting is all fantastic; Jean Brassard especially, displays uncanny mastery of the "Expressionist School." Producer Kyle McCabe has a hilarious cameo as a (possibly robotic?) guest at the surreal dance ball. Kristina Fleming, Christy Pope, and Sandra Lupien (as a Lynchian torch singer) are all gorgeous and in exhibit peerless mastery of the long lost acting style their roles demand. Great make-up by Lawrence Ferber! It's the movie that Herk Harvey's CARNIVAL OF SOULS ghost-people might have made after they finally went home from Coney Island.

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