Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Science of Sleep

The Science of Sleep is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. Just finished watching it for the first time. It is the masterpiece of Michael Gondry, director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It is literally a work of art. The closest thing I have seen to it is Mirrormask, directed by Dave McKean.

The Science of Sleep is the story of Stephane Miroux. Stephane confuses his dreams with reality. He cannot tell which is which. Languages are constantly switched throughout the movie from Spanish to English to French. The movie takes place in France. Stephane falls in love with his neighbor, Stephanie, who lives in his apartment complex. She is one of the few people in his life who understand him to an extent. She is a creative type and is an artist, which attracts Stephane. Rather than mock him, she works with him in his dream worlds; creates with him; brings imagination to life.

Gondry shows us one of the most human movies I have seen in years. It is heartbreaking, heartwarming, charming, witty, and most of all imaginative. Gondry shows us what it is like to be Stephane. We experience this film from Stephane's eyes and his point of view, which is far from the "normal" point of view. But what is the normal point of view? Stephane's world seems very attractive to the viewer, but Gondry shows us that while it may look like an exciting way of viewing life, it is really a curse at times. Stephane's strongest and weakest points spring from his illness.

Why this movie wasn't nominated for any awards I don't know. As I said before, it is filmed beautifully, the art direction is beyond superb, Gael Garcia Bernal gives a wonderful performance as Stephane, and it is the first look (though it may be an exaggerated look) into mental illness that I have seen portrayed so humanly and so directly behind the eyes of a person. I highly recommend this film to everyone. May be a little artsy for some, but for people who like indie-type flicks, you'll love this one.


Carl V. said...

This is one I really wanted to see in the theatre and don't remember it ever coming to KC. I first saw the trailer at a free preview of A Scanner Darkly this past summer. It is definitely one I will pick up on DVD as I thought it looked wonderful. Glad to hear it was.

Chris said...

It was great. I wanted to see this one in the theatre too, but it seems to have slipped by me. Definitely one for the collection.