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The Science of Sleep
Sleep inducing or exciting and alive?
The Science of Sleep
A Scene from "The Science of Sleep".
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $9,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

March 29th, 2006: The shy and insecure Stephane (Gael García Bernal) lives in a cramped apartment in Paris. When Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) moves in next door as his new neighbor, Stephane develops feelings of affection for the girl. Struggling to control his emotions in real life, he escapes into a dream world during his sleep. With a little time and some practice, he begins to learn how to manipulate the events within his dreams, but simultaneously becomes trapped inside his fantasy world by the characters he creates.

What to Expect: Michel Gondry, the director of the fan favorite Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is looking to explore his favorite subjects one step further in The Science of Sleep. The spontaneity and vivid imagination of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind showed tremendous skill and maturity from the filmmaker. With the visually stunning and surprisingly engaging Human Nature, as well as a fair share of revolutionary music videos, also to his credit, he easily belongs on any list of today’s modern film visionaries. His stimulating, hip-hop concert inspired documentary Block Party (aka Dave Chappelle’s Block Party) was just released a few weeks ago to staggeringly glowing reviews and a relatively healthy showing at the box-office. However, this time around, he will have to attain success without a screenplay from the remarkable Charlie Kaufman, who wrote both Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and deserves at least half the credit for their lasting impact. For Gondry, this will be the first feature film for which he has written the screenplay himself, but it looks to contain similar elements to those found in Kaufman’s enduring scripts. Early reports are promising and Warner Independent Pictures recently picked up The Science of Sleep in a $6 million deal after it premiered at Sundance this year.

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The film’s two leads are not really household names to most Americans so let’s introduce them. Gael García Bernal (Y tu mamá también, The Motorcycle Diaries, Bad Education), already possessing wide international recognition, seems to gain another inch in the United States with every new release, adding followers to his rabid fan base each time. Some of the world’s greatest directors continue to entrust him with significant parts in their movies. Bernal’s future projects include Alejandro González IñárrituBabel as well as another intriguing project with Gondry, titled Master of Space and Time. He definitely possesses the appropriate temperament for the role of the gifted introvert in The Science of Sleep. The radiant Charlotte Gainsbourg lacks Bernal’s exposure in the States, but has been quite prominent in European films for over twenty years. Perhaps some have caught her in bit roles in American productions such as 21 Grams or the TV movie Nuremberg. She possesses the right mystique and presence to hold her own opposite of Bernal and although The Science of Sleep may not reach millions of people the way summer blockbusters do, it’s probably her best shot at international exposure to date.

The surreal material will undoubtedly touch upon themes of anxiety, alienation, and obscured reality. It will freely drift amid the protagonist’s dream and conscious states with no discernible boundaries between one and the other. By employing tricks like arranging real life sounds over dream events, The Science of Sleep will create the same type of misty confusion we feel on a daily basis while sleeping. Some wildly original animated sequences will also be blended into the story. Since most of them will be stop-motion animation, it should give the film moments of that bizarre, but charming jerkiness. One of the scenes features a giant electric shaver that cuts everything in sight and even causes one person’s death. Clearly, Charlie Kaufman’s absence from the project only reveals Gondry’s comparable sensibilities. However, there have been rumors that while the film is a gorgeously inventive visual marvel, it lacks in the plot department. Perhaps this is the area where Kaufman will be sorely missed.

In Conclusion: This is going to be a good-natured story, humorous in tone, and not as heavily subject to intellectual musings as I may have implied. Surely, it will bore inattentive viewers, but it should delight and reward all those who watch actively and observe perceptively. While the film will touch upon some pertinent themes like the tendency we have to hide in our own reality when confronted with adversity, it will probably work best on a visceral level, entertaining mostly thorough its images. For Gondry, it should be another virtuoso execution and for the two leads, it should provide more American exposure. Although The Science of Sleep should gather many followers and have a decent afterlife on DVD, it’s clearly not the type movie that mainstream audiences seek out. Films with abstract images and little exposition do not usually rake in cash and it is doubtful that this one will get as wide of a theatrical release as it deserves.

Similar Titles: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky
September 22nd, 2006 (limited)
February 6th, 2007 (DVD)

Warner Independent Pictures

Michel Gondry

Gael Garcia Bernal, Jacques Bernard, Alain Chabat, Emma de Caunes, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Inigo Lezzi, Stéphane Metzger, Miou-Miou, Aurélia Petit, Pierre Vaneck

Total: 37 vote(s).

Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Click here to view site

Rated R for language, some sexual content and nudity.

105 min

English, French, Spanish





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