Winterschlaefer (Winter Sleepers) is the sophomore effort from German director Tom Tykwer, released a year before Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run) won him international acclaim for its unique look and storytelling methods. Winter Sleepers follows a blizzard-filled winter in the lives of a handful of mountain town denizens: Marco (Heino Ferch), a dashing ski instructor; Rebecca (Floriane Daniel), his receptionist girlfriend; Laura (Marie-Lou Sellem), a nurse who is Rebecca's roommate; and Rene (Ulrich Matthes), a mysterious stranger who takes up with Laura. Before meeting them, Rene has unknowingly set into motion a tragedy that will affect the others' lives. While driving on an icy road (in Marco's stolen car), he swerves into the path of a destitute farmer taking his horse to the doctor, flipping the farmer's vehicle and sending his own careening down a snowy hillside. Rene emerges from the wreck unharmed, forgetting what has happened due to an old war injury that has damaged his ability to make short-term memories. When the farmer, Theo (Josef Bierbichler), emerges later to find that his young daughter had stowed away in the truck, and has been left comatose by the accident, he determines to track down the other driver. Meanwhile, not long after beginning his affair with Laura, Rene triggers Marco's jealousy when it seems Rebecca has feelings for him, prompting several tempestuous exchanges.
by Derek Armstrong synopsis