The Science Of Sleep
For his first feature since 2004's ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, French writer/director Michel Gondry applies his highly inventive cinematic vision to THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP. Largely set in the very active subconscious mind of Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal), the movie bounces back and forth between his vivid dreams and mundane real life, which involves living in a Parisian apartment owned by his mother (Miou-Miou) and working at an office with a strange crew of characters, including the crass Guy (Alain Chabat). When Stephane meets Stephanie, a shy neighbour from next door (Charlotte Gainsbourg), the two form an unusual friendship, one that may or may not lead to romance.
Even more than ETERNAL SUNSHINE, THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP is marked by Gondry's whimsical-yet-melancholy aesthetic (honed working on videos by Bjork, the White Stripes, and others), which makes heavy use of stop-motion animation and other playful visual tricks. While the former film was rooted in its American setting (Long Island, NY), SLEEP is a thoroughly European affair steeped in its French setting, with the eccentric Stephane (a transplant from Mexico) alternating between speaking (and even dreaming) in English, French, and Spanish. Although its occasionally over-the-top quirkiness may baffle some viewers, SLEEP's unpredictable and engagingly odd sense of storytelling is sure to intrigue fans of other indie classics such as AMELIE and PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE.