La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker), is the namesake of the 1831 Italian opera by Bellini. Set in a pastoral village, the opera follows the love relationships of a group of characters, one of whom is plagued with somnambulism, or sleepwalking.
I derived the imagery for the drawing stop-motion animation from the 1969 film, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? which was adapted from the 1935 novel by Horace McCoy.
“In the stop-motion animation La Sonnambula (2010, sound by Christopher Ryan Spence), Iglesias appropriates the 1969 film starring Jane Fonda, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, which measures the desperation of the young and jobless who participated in the exploitative dance derbies that were popular during the Great Depression. For $1,400 in prize money, competitors danced for weeks on end, resting only 15 minutes every two hours, eating on their feet. In the film, the drama is heightened when the organizers stage an elimination race, forcing the exhausted couples to run around a track and removing the last three to cross the finish line. One man dies. Others go insane. After thousands of hours of dancing, Fonda’s hard-edged character Gloria and her partner Robert learn that even if they manage to win the prize, they will have to pay for their food and lodging. With nothing to gain but a few dollars, they drop out of the competition. Gloria begs Robert to shoot her, which he does. When asked by the police why he did it, his only answer: “They shoot horses, don’t they?” Distilling the frames from one racing scene into hundreds of drawings and compiling them together as a new film, Iglesias painstakingly renders the dancers’ suffering, acknowledging the choicelessness of poverty and desperation.”