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Saturday, May 23, 2009
Starring: Gael Garcia Benal, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Directed by: Michel Gondry
Genre: Indie Romance, Drama, Fantasy
It's difficult to describe what it is about 'La science des rêves' that appeals to me.
It isn't the often-celebrated 'dreamy', 'hallucinogenic' quality this film has- in fact, in this story of a man navigating his way through dreams and reality, I often find the waking life of the protagonist, Stephane Miroux, much more appealing, and much more fantastical. Those moments where he finds himself making stop-cap animation films, tipping water on pedestrians and getting to know his love interest, Stephanie, have much more carefully-considered dialogue and cinematography than the dream sequences. In fact, I didn't find the film all that 'dreamy'- as a viewer, I felt as though I were in that half-awake stage of reverie, watching the events through a misty pane, wanting more than anything just to see Stephane take control of his life and kiss the girl.
It wasn't the romance that appealed, either- rather than seizing his moment with the beautiful Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), by the end of the film, they find themselves in somewhat a romantic stalemate, clearly in love with each other but distanced by Stephane's preoccupation with illusion.
No- I think what appealed to me was the meticulous attention to detail. The careful, convincing dialogue, the beautiful creations of Lauri Faggioni (such as the boat, above) that seem to blend perfectly into the plot; the subtle but always appropriate music. But what I found truly brought the script together is the fusion of Spanish, English and French. Do people dream in different languages? I don't mean the different words and dialects, but the things contained in the dreams. There was something decidedly Spanish about the dreams in the fields and the desolate street, which reminded me of an Almodavar film; the colour palette was slightly reminiscent of Jean-Pierre Jeunet; the constant presence of his quirky, dorky colleagues was very British. The languages, cultures and different perspectives seem to blend into a fantastical melting pot, Stephane's difficulty with French and English adding further the ever-confusing kaleidoscope that is 'La science des rêves'.