Based on bizarre, real-life events, filmmaker Pedro Martín-Calero Medrano tells the story of the residents of a small village in Kazakhstan, who mysteriously fall asleep for days at a time.
Since 2013, the mysterious illness affected over 140 people in Kalachi and Krasnogorsk, a dusty settlement with a total population of 810 people. Residents would fall asleep suddenly, even while walking, and wake up with memory loss, grogginess, weakness and headaches. Some slept over half a dozen times, for up to six days at a time.
The sick appeared to be conscious until they’d fall into a deep sleep with nightmarish hallucinations. When they woke up, they remembered nothing.
After medical examinations of all the residents, researchers concluded that nearby uranium mines had caused heightened levels of hydrocarbons in the air. The mines had been closed after the fall of the Soviet Union, but a concentration of carbon monoxide had built up. That reduced the oxygen in the air accordingly and caused the sleeping sickness in the village.
Scientists look for the cause at 2:01…