The Science Of Sleep


It’s a sign of an interesting movie when even its stars can’t agree on its message. Charlotte Gainsbourg sees The Science Of Sleep as about soul-mates and true love. Would-be other-half Gael García Bernal thinks: “Basically this is a story about rejection.”

Ah, men are from Mars, women are from Venus… Michel Gondry is definitely from another planet. His third feature is inventive, inconsistent and occasionally annoying: which is much how Gondry comes over in the insightful Making Of and garbled director-and-cast commentary. The movie shares subjects with Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – fate, love, mental disintegration – but it’s a less consistent marriage of style and emotion. Visually, Gondry delivers extraordinary sequences through the ingenious, lo-fi effects familiar from both Eternal… and his short films and music videos (the cardboard cut-outs recall his ‘Cellphone’s Dead’ Beck vid; the underwater sequence his Levi’s mermaids shoot). Cellophane water and cuddly toy horses which somehow animate… these are images which echo around the memory. The story is less arresting: a will-they/won’t-they, relationship between neighbours Stéphane (Bernal) and Stéphanie (Gainsbourg) – conducted partly in dreams. With its blend of slapstick and existential angst, Science… plays like early Woody Allen via MTV, a prospect you could find thrilling or chilling. But while the script suffers from too many kooks, Gondry’s singular vision is still to be cherished. His life advice is also worth listening to: “If an idea is any good it’s on the verge of being stupid.”


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