Mrs. Miroux: “So, what did you think?”
Stephanie: “I adore it!”
Mrs. Miroux: “Really? I’ve always found it rather strange.”
Stephanie: “That’s what’s good.”
DIRECTED BY: Michel Gondry
FEATURING: Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg,
PLOT: Stephane is a young artist and inventor from Mexico, a man who has always had trouble distinguishing dreams from waking life; he is lured to Paris by his mother with the promise of a “creative” job that turns out to be a position as a typesetter at a company that makes nudie calendars. He slowly falls in love with his next door neighbor Stephanie, who is also a creative type, an amateur composer and toy designer. Their developing relationship becomes complicated and eventually melancholy because Stephane can’t tell if Stephanie returns his affections; whenever he meets her, he can’t even be sure if it’s in a dream or reality.
- The Science of Sleep was Michel Gondry’s feature fiction followup to 2004’s Certified Weird Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It was Gondry’s first feature screenplay.
- Gondry stated that the character of Stephane was about 80% based on himself (the other 20% coming from Gael García Bernal’s interpretation of the character). Many of the dreams depicted in the film came from Gondry’s own dreams; the scene where Stephane has giant, cartoon-like hands came from a recurring nightmare the director had as a child. In the commentary on the DVD Gondry also implies that the romantic trauma Stephane goes through in the script was inspired by a real life unrequited love. Gondry also filmed the picture in the house he grew up in a s a child.
- The director said in an interview that he got some of the inspiration for the film’s look from Communist propaganda films aimed at children.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: The two would-be lovers on a gray felt horse with button eyes in a white boat with a forest inside, sailing off on a cellophane sea.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: The Science of Sleep is nearly a straight shot of surrealism masquerading as a romantic comedy, under the cover of dreams. In this movie, it’s the reality-sequences that interrupt and inform the dream narrative, not the other way around.
Original trailer for The Science of Sleep
COMMENTS: In the very first scene of The Science of Sleep, Stephane’s subconscious, Continue reading 66. THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP [La science des rêves] (2006)