Sunday, February 18, 2007


I went to see The Science of Sleep tonight. It's kind of a follow up to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which I adored. There are similarities. It has similar dream sequences, a main character who struggles to fit in and an odd supporting cast. It's funny whereas Eternal Sunshine was slightly sinister. The Guardian summarises it thus

It is set in Paris, where Stéphane (Gael García Bernal) has returned to live in the almost-forgotten family home he left with his father when his parents divorced. Now his mother has divided the apartment into two flats, allowing him to live in one and rent the other out to two single girls, Stéphanie and Zoe (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Emma De Caunes). His mother has herself moved out to live with her unsuitable boyfriend: a dodgy magician. Stéphane simply moves back into his childhood bedroom, which his mother has kept unchanged with all his old toys and posters and wacky inventions, and it encourages Stéphane in his regressive Walter Mitty-ish tendency to reverie and fantasy.

In his head, Stéphane is the host of a homemade TV show, with stage-set and cameras made of cardboard, a kind of lifestyle-news programme whose sole purpose is to comment on the ongoing bafflement of his life. And poor Stéphane is falling for his beautiful neighbour Stéphanie, who is entranced by this innocent, with his ingenuous imaginative charm and love of arts and crafts, but does not find him attractive. His interior world is brilliantly and vividly dramatised by Gondry, and Gainsbourg's Stéphanie describes it as "kind of retarded, in a way".

In a David Lynch kind of way, you have to pay attention and as the film progresses the boundaries of sleep and reality blur, as is the point. until at the end you're not really sure if it's happening or not. I think it would benefit from another viewing but it's not confusing for it's own sake the way Momento was or Being John Malkovic. I enjoyed it, a film so creative it makes up for all the formulaic hollywood films coming out all the time. There are some wonderful lines and scenes and the characters are very well drawn, especially the co-workers in Stephane's office. If you liked Kauffman's other works you should definately check this out.

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