Tag Archives: Gael García Bernal

La Science des rêves [The Science of Sleep] (2006)

<strong class="MovieTitle">La Science des rêves</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">The Science of Sleep</strong>] (2006)

(On Cable TV, June 2018) I may not like Michel Gondry’s work all that much, but now that I’m familiar with his approach, each one of his films bothers me less and less. La Science des rèves is pure Gondry in that it mixes his flights of fancy, eccentric characters and low-tech stop-motion special effects in the service of a romantic story. It’s twee and silly and ultimately tragic (maybe) and messy in its small-budget style, but I ended up liking it more than I would have expected. Gael García Bernal stars as a young artist moving from Mexico to Paris and finding that his promised job is far less interesting than expected. Meanwhile, he falls for his next-door neighbour with results complicated by his eccentric personality and his difficulty in distinguishing dreams from reality. The street-level view of Paris is interesting, but not as much as the characters in their flawed, initially off-putting qualities. Charlotte Gainsbourg is appealing as the love interest and the treatment of French/English bilingual dialogue is something I always appreciate, but the star of the show is Gondry’s imagination, endearingly portrayed through cardboard bricolage and stop-motion animation even when (say) tap water could have done just as well. Part of the key in appreciating Gondry is letting go of logic and simply letting the film go where it wants. This goes double for the oneiric The Science of Sleep. It may not outclass Mood Indigo as my favourite Gondry (a very qualified recommendation) but its whimsical quality makes for a welcome departure from the rather more realistic movie fare I’ve been binging lately.