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The Science of Sleep - Preview

The Sience of Sleep

Preview by Jack Foley

A NEW surreal love story from the mind of Michel Gondry (the visionary director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has been acquired by Warner Independent Pictures following its strong showing at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg and follows Stephane (Bernal) as he returns to his hometown to take up a job and starts a relationship with his neighbour.

Even though the job doesn’t really work out, the relationship begins to thanks in no small part to his fantastic dream-life. But just as everything is looking up, Stephane’s insecurities return and he faces a dilemma that the science of sleep may not help him solve.

The Science of Sleep is described as a semi autobiographical piece from the mind of Gondry in which he lets his mind run amok.

It was filmed in France, which offered the director the opportunity to indulge every whim and explore possibilities that the studio system might not have allowed had he shot in Hollywood.

Interestingly, Gondry has admitted that a lot of his inspiration came from the visuals of Communist era kids’ shows.

“You have this simple message for the kids but there was a lot of poetry in it,” he explained while promoting the film in Berlin. “That’s maybe one of the few good things about Communism. In terms of art and children’s programs, they were giving some very direct messages but the imagery was really amazing and poetic and handcrafted.

“I hope this comes across in the film. It’s the way [Bernal’s character] Stephane constructs his dreams – he builds them from very simple blocks that he finds in his surroundings.”

Certainly, the film has been drawing positive reviews on the festival circuit. Hollywood Reporter, for instance, wrote: “Laced with great goofiness and oddball associations, The Science of Sleep is a super-kinetic lark, juiced by some nutty production design and fueled by a wonderfully incongruous melange of styles. Enlivened by a slapstick sensibility, Sleep walks through a world that resembles an off-kilter Toys ‘R’ Us, as if Terry Gilliam ran the franchise.”

While The Sundance Film Festival website stated: “Densely packed with imagery and symbols as well as soulful emotion and humor, The Science of Sleep weaves a dreamlike narrative ripe for examination and enjoyment and further establishes Gondry as a master of cinematic language.”

The Independent Online adds: “Bernal spends half the film in a dream state and the fantastical sequences utilise many of the techniques honed by the director in his music videos. The performance of Gainsbourg as a shy neighbour is pitch perfect.”

The film is due for a UK release at the tail end of the year.