Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Science of Sleep

I don't often write about films which might be odd since I spent many years doing just that. I guess I should say that I don't often review films. I'm not a great reviewer but I'll give you my take on this film and the fact that I'm putting it up on the blog means that I highly recommend it.

The Science of Sleep (la science des reves) is a magical film. It's creative and beautiful and moving and visually rich. It's a boy meets girl story told in an unexpected way. In this case the boy's (Stephane's) reality is a mixture of his dreams and the everyday. The two are always mixing together so that we are invited into how Stephane views the world. He's an artist so his visual style comes through in his dreams. While this is his gift it is also his downfall because it is the times that he cannot differentiate between his dreams and the everyday that gets him into trouble.

When he meets the girl (Stephanie) it is not love at first sight, but rather a gradual recognition of their destiny to be together. However, while they view the world in a similar creative way, they do not view reality in the same way. Stephanie seems to be able to put her dreamworld aside while Stephane cannot. It is that gap between them that causes the tension.

Stephane cannot be anything else so perhaps he will always live his life beautifully but necessarily tragic.
I won't give away the ending and even if I did it wouldn't really matter because the film has so much more going on.

Part of my immediate reaction to watching the film was a bit like being stunned just because so much information is being given to me visually and within this animated playground is a love story that is unfolding in several ways (dream and reality). Like Stephane I'm trying to figure out which one is the dream and which is the reality, but enjoying both and how they overlap.

The film is so textured and layered in its animation and it is all done in a classical animated style so nothing is computer generated. Even the "blue screen" background was actually done as rear projection so that too is classic in its style. The animated events or mixture of actors with animation has a childlike quality that mimics Stephane's and Stephanie's creativity and artwork. The result is a very handmade feel to the film and it reminded me of Melies A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune)
I can see a connection since Melies was an inventor (like Stephane) and did make his own camera. There is also playfulness in Melies film(s) and the Science of Sleep.

If you click on the film title links above it will give you a sense of how the film looks and feels. The websites (both English and French) are quite fun. It's worth looking at and I'm sure will invite you to rent the film.

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