Do you wish the zombies in I Am Legend had been more interesting and believable? Then you should be excited for near-future dystopia Sleep Dealer, judging from this brief teaser trailer and some new stills. Sleep Dealer is a bleak fable about immigration and cyber-slavery, but it's also yet another horrible future where science turns ordinary people into the walking (almost) dead. Click through for stills and details.
In Sleep Dealer, the U.S. has finally succeeded in stopping illegal immigrants crossing over from Mexico. But Mexicans can still work in American factories and farms for almost no money, thanks to the miracle of telecommuting. The people in Alex Rivera's film hook up their nervous systems to the Internet to control robots in the U.S., but it takes a toll on them, as you can see from the spooky clip and stills above. The film's title refers to workers who get so drained they collapse.
Rivera says this bizarre scenario may be what America wants: "to use the labor, but not have the person."
Here's the official synopsis for this Sundance-bound film:
The story begins with Memo Cruz, a young campesino, or peasant farmer, in southern Mexico. He's always dreamed of leaving his small pueblo and maybe finding work in the big cities in the north. His dream comes true in the worst possible way when his home is mistakenly identified as a terrorist hideout in a hilariously reckless "Global War on Terror."
Rudy Gaeta is a soldier fighting in this future war. He works for an American security company flying a remote control war machine — a pumped-up version of today's Predator Drone. Rudy's first assignment is to take out the "terrorists" in southern Mexico. Following orders, from his office in sunny San Diego, Rudy dispatches a drone and attacks Memo's home in Mexico.
Uprooted as a consequence of the attack, Memo has to leave the pueblo and go north to earn money to help his family start again. He heads to the massive border city of Tijuana.
On his way into Tijuana Memo meets a young woman named Luz. Luz is a writer, and going into the city to look for stories. After she meets Memo we see what "writing" means in this future. Alone in her room, Luz connects her body to the net and speaks. As she describes her day, the computer records visuals from her memories and the sound of her voice. She puts these recorded memories up for sale on the net - a blog, straight from the brain.
In Tijuana, Memo finds work in a futuristic factory - he earns dollars by connecting his body to the net, and controlling a worker drone in America.
At home in San Diego, Rudy, the soldier, is lonely and disconnected from the world. He spends his free time plugging in and watching recordings of other people's memories. A few days after he attacked Memo's home, Rudy has doubts - something about the attack didn't feel right. He searches for information on the net, and finds Luz's story. He buys it, and for the first time, through Luz's recorded memories, he sees Memo's face - the face of his victim.
Through Luz's stories, effectively through her eyes and ears, Rudy gets to know Memo. And as Luz and Memo fall in love, Rudy realizes what he's done.