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The Science of Sleep (2006)

Art House & International movie directed by Michel Gondry

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A Magical Bon-Bon from Michel Gondry

  • Feb 11, 2007
The French have a way with films that tinker with reality, fantasy, illusions, and delusions and the result of those traits have produced some of the most exciting and avant garde films ever made. Michel Gondry has inherited the mantle from Cocteau, Resnais, etc and runs with it in this charming little diversion of a film THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP.

Gondry is primarily a visual artist and tells his stories in a visual manner, but that is not to say his stories are superficial or trivial: he has a preoccupation with the thin line between reality and non-reality, between dream and diurnal creativity, and it is this space that occupies his mind, his pen, his camera, and his mission in this little tale.

Stéphane Miroux (the enormously gifted, dedicated and hunky Gael García Bernal) is a true 'artist', a young man whose father is Mexican and whose mother is French, and he has entered Paris to begin a job his mother Christine (Miou-Miou) assures him is creative: it actually is a boring, restricting graphic design outfit (though populated by some zany confrères including Guy played beautifully by Alain Chabat who allows to run with his idea of publishing a calendar whose months are pictured by world disasters!) that at first defeats Stéphane's artistic integrity.

Stéphane dreams and in his dream life he is a TV host who can make the most impossible things happen. His work frustrations push him further into his dream world and he finds it more real than the mundane life of daytime. He lives across the hall from an equally delicate artistic mind named Stéphanie (the always fine and adroit Charlotte Gainsbourg) who is caught up in her own dream world of making little boats of paper and water of cellophane and clouds of cotton. The two begin a touch and run relationship that gradually develops into a mutual appreciation for each other's idiosyncrasies - in the best of all possible ways.

Gondry peppers his script with make-believe constructions, testy conversations, and some very funny and naughty observations that he tosses off with aplomb. Gael García Bernal infuses this strange role with a facile use of three languages (English, French and Spanish) and with a tender sense of comic timing and sensual magnetism that makes him irresistible. He carries the fantasy on his capable shoulders allowing us to love his bizarrely complex character at every quirky turn. He is an actor who takes more risks than most and is destined to be one of our more important actors as he continues to gain attention.

For those who need sharp margins of linearity and borders between reality and fantasy, this film may confuse and frustrate. But for viewers who love 'taking rides through dream fantasies on felt horses' this film is sure to please. Grady Harp, February 07

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More The Science of Sleep (2006) reviews
review by . February 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     Michel Gondry's "The Science of Sleep" is a surrealist's joint. This film is damn good proof that Gondry shall forevermore be a talented filmmaker, even with his several career turns (for the worse, as his most recent film, "The Green Hornet", may suggest). Perhaps the best directors are those who have had their days and then their failures. The Coen Brothers, for example, would not be so memorable if it had not been for the several mediocre films and the …
review by . March 25, 2007
This is a very European production. "The Science of Sleep" permeates with the viewer even more than "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind" did after its first viewing because its more impulsive and creative. Michel Gondry, now having three full-feature films under his belt, does penetrate the very core of our dreams, and somehow makes us believe that we can too.     In the beginning of this film we can clearly see that Stephane, played by the charming Gael Garcia Bernal, has problems …
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Grady Harp ()
Ranked #98
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this movie


The French magician and director Georges Méliès was arguably the first master of special effects, filling the silent movie houses of the early 20th century with camera trickery that stunned and delighted audiences. A century later, Michel Gondry works very much in the spirit of his artistic predecessor and countryman, creating films and music videos that feel just as hand-crafted and visually fantastical.The Science of Sleepconcerns the flirtations and misunderstandings of Stéphane (Gael García Bernal,Babel), an aspiring visual artist, and Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg,21 Grams), his Parisian neighbor who creates whimsical sculptures from cotton balls and felt. As Stéphane toils in a caustic office for a company that makes calendars, he retreats into his dreams and finds them increasingly hard to distinguish from reality, and vice-versa.The Science of Sleepis a trilingual film, with dialogue spoken in French, English, and Spanish by characters who are very much global citizens, crossing boundaries of consciousness as easily as they cross boundaries of culture. Gondry decorates his love story with deliberately low-tech special effects, including cellophane made to look like bath water and a subconscious television studio constructed largely of corrugated cardboard. This is filmmaking with all the seams and stitches exposed, an appreciation for the patent falseness of films that nonetheless transport and enchant us. It's ...
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Director: Michel Gondry
DVD Release Date: February 6, 2007
Runtime: 106 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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