Accompanied by 19th century tales of the sea, Matthias Müller drowns the naked bodies of young sailors in Sleepy Haven´s blue ocean of lost love and desire.
Blue-tinted footage is collaged into a barrage of metaphoric puns, waterfalls give way to tightrope walkers, the splitting fibers of a rope segue into struggling hands. This gentle, poetic little splendor is a constant charm. Its precarious montage contains no overall explanatory program, but then it does not need one – the juxtaposition of images has no meaning beyond the playful resonances they achieve.
SLEEPY HAVEN is explicitly clinging to the spirit of Kenneth Anger´s Fireworks. Materializing phantasies of an erotic daydream, the film is kind of a cocktail merging found footage with original shots like in a love act.
Nudes bodies of sailors are flaring up in flickering solarisation effects; they are given an ardent aura of physical craving by this tatooing of the film emulsion.
Müller only gradually changes his material metaphors to becoming metaphors of love. We see huge ocean liners under stream docked in the harbours and moored to quays and iron post. Constant fade-ins and fade-outs make the screen breathe heavily, open up and close again. Circular stops associate openings of the human body [...]
But it is not only Fireworks the films alluding to, there is yet another classic shimmering through Müller´s imaginery: Jean Genet´s Un chant d´amour ...
Enhanced by Dirk Schaefer’s lulling music, the appearance and disappearance of the image mimics the rhythms of the body – a palm opening, nocturnal tossings, the heartbeat, and breath. Through the processing the images often seem submerged, as if trying to rise unsuccessfully to the surface of consciousness. This is a film that sonically searches out subaquatic connections.
(Alice A. Kuzniar, In: The Queer German Cinema, Stanford, 2000)