Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat, Miou-Miou, Emma de Caunes, Aur�lia Petit, Sacha Bourdo, Pierre Vaneck, St�phane Metzger, Decourt Moyen, Inigo Lezzi, Yvette Petit
Written by: Michel Gondry
Directed by: Michel Gondry
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual content and nudity
Language: Spanish, English and French with English subtitles
Running Time: 105
Date: 02/11/2006

The Science of Sleep (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep makes a great looking coming-attractions trailer, but I'm not sure it's much of a movie. It's Gondry's third film (after Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and his first without screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. Gondry proves that he can make memorable, even dazzling imagery, but without Kaufman's logical, comically wounded writing at work, the new film comes across as one long clip reel with nary a high nor a low. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as Stephane, a young man who has just arrived in Paris, where his French mother has secured him a job. Stephane spends a good deal of the time dreaming, and sometimes has trouble separating his dreams from reality. In some dreams he hosts a kind of television show and in others he imagines a giant pair of hands, or a huge, living typewriter that takes dictation. In real life, he falls in love with his moody, artistic next-door neighbor, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and their relationship goes through a series of fits and starts, but never takes off. Nobody comes away any wiser or changed or redeemed; the film has no shape. But while we watch, Gondy makes sure we're lovingly distracted with his individual, inventive moments. It's only after the film's end that we realize not much has actually happened.

DVD Details: Warner Home Video's 2007 DVD comes with a commentary track (in English) by Gondry, Bernal, Gainsbourg and Sacha Bourdo. There's a 40-minute making-of featurette, and another featurette tells all about Lauri Faggioni, the creator of the film's various creatures, puppets and gizmos. There are two strange little shorts about rescuing cats, plus trailers for this, The Painted Veil, The Fountain, Infamous and For Your Consideration.

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