izhilzha (izhilzha) wrote,

  • Mood:

The Science of Sleep

On the advice of whitemartyr, I went to see this film last night. Written and directed by the gifted Michel Gondry, it almost defies description. A mix of wonder and confusion, full of what one might call magical realism--except that's not what's going on at all--all the special effects are practical rather than computer-generated, for a rough, living feel. The mix of languages (French, Spanish, and English all come into it at some point, speakers often switching mid-sentence) adds another layer of wonder, and maybe surrealisim. The two leads, Gaia Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg, carry the burden of all this into our hearts as well as our heads.

But the point of the film, and why all this succeeds, is because Gondry has managed to paint a moving portrait of the creative mind.

I honestly can't give a synopsis of this film, because the bare facts would not convey anything. Stephane, the main character, is a young artist and inventor who moves back to France (from Mexico) for his mother's sake after his father dies. Wrapped in the trappings of his boyhood bedroom, trapped in a typesetting job which stifles his creativity, and unsure whether he wants to be friends or more with his pretty, also-creative next-door neighbor Stephanie, he tries to live in the regular world as well as in the worlds which he dreams up with his mind--both literally, while sleeping, and while awake.

That was what struck me so powerfully: the fine line that the creative mind walks in this world. We live as everyone does, eating and sleeping and doing whatever job we have, so that we can continue to survive. But at the same time we live in a different world (or many worlds) inside our heads, inside our hearts. Here, anything can happen; our beloved can fall in love with us; we can make a forest exist inside a boat, instead of the other way around; we can move backwards and forwards in time.

Stephane's boss, Guy, offers to arrange for the office's token female employee to give Stephane a blow job, and Stephane's disbelieving response is: "So all that's important is getting laid? Not who it's with?" Some people live mostly in the world that we can see, and the world seems simple to them, or at least not as complicated as other try to make it. The creative mind, on the other hand, cannot imagine things existing without higher meaning, does not want to drag the beautiful and wonderous down to the level of the "merely" physical or experiental.

There's always more.

There are moments of utter wonder and joy and childlike glee in this film, but it's not all happy. The sorrow is almost not sad at all, just frustrating--how can Stephane remain himself, full of wonder, making things, seeing through eveything to what it might be rather than what it is, in a world where that doesn't pay him, and where so few people see things as he does?

How can any of us?

I would highly recommend this film for anyone who is interested in any of the arts (it is rated R for language and some adult situations).
Tags: contemplative, film, review

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.