One of the most terrifying nightmares happens when your own lucidity turns against you. ‘Out of Dream‘ fully proves this. However, the short film is less a cinematic narrative focused on character development or an exploration of interpersonal conflict than a somewhat visceral portrayal of an extreme physiological reaction. It’s a difficult bet, but when everything is supported by a competent and daring directorial vision, the result is even more commendable. Fortunately, Nils Witt manages to successfully meet this challenge. Thus, in the absence of a script based on the specific dynamic of a conventional story, he opts for a total sensory immersion in the nightmare of a disturbing nocturnal experience: sleep paralysis.


A young woman prepares for an interview. But all the accumulated stress, to which are added the emotions preceding the meeting with potential employers, violently manifests itself during the night. Without having an elaborate narrative structure, the short film exposes a suffocating intimate experience while presenting a psychosomatic reaction not necessarily rare in today’s competitive social context. From this point of view, the project suggests the inner tensions of those who feel the pressure of the environment, proposing, through the central character, a general typology anyone can identify with.


At the compositional level, the sounds and twilight chromatics give coherence to a succinct and hallucinatory itinerary through the thoughts of the main character, who becomes a captive of her own body. The effect of vertigo and the imminence of disaster are always present as the camera’s eye explores the anguished state of this young woman who reaches a petrifying lucidity during a nightmare she cannot resist. Ultimately, this immersion in the vagaries of an extremely anxious episode takes on the proportions of a vivid painting that captures strange images and vibrations with dark oneiric or even horror surrealist shades. Nils Witt is a talented atmosphere creator who offers, through ‘Out of Dream’, an impactful project but also the certainty of a more than promising directorial vision.


For the consistency and coherence of this total plunge into the abyss of a nightmarish experience, ‘Out of Dream’ was awarded the 2nd Film of the Month distinction in the April 2023 edition of TMFF.