Monday, October 16

The Science of Art Movies

Last night Phil and I ended the day by seeing The Science of Sleep, an arty little flick by Michel Gondry, who brought us Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, another lovely little art flick about introspection and memory and perception and, happily, Kate Winslet's hair. Eternal Sunshine is a much darker film than Science — much darker — even though the ending of Science is frustratingly ambiguous and not nearly as optimistic as Sunshine's.

Science follows Stéphane (played by the criminally handsome Gael García Bernal), a quirky graphic designer who, since childhood, has had trouble compartmentalizing dreams and reality, each blending into the other to present him with embarrassing and frustrating scenerios in which he has to question his sanity.

He copes by being introverted — he says he finds everyone boring — but when he meets Stéphanie, he becomes increasingly infatuated with her because she is a messy, quirky, artistic soul just like he is. He shows her the world he creates from his dreams and his imagination — with weird inventions and funny illusions — and together they make art and hang out and stuff.

Pretty cool.

And then they both act all insecure and weird and the relationship can't take off because they're both guarded and suspicious and it's easier for them to interact during playdates where they make stop-motion movies and roboticize stuffed animals.

There are sweet moments and funny moments, but mostly moments of needless misunderstanding and frustration felt by two people who can't seem to click in a tangible romantic way.

The characters are charming enough, I guess. FOR FRENCHMEN! Stéphane is annoyingly childish and irresponsible, but he has a quirky sense of humor and a dreamy demeanor you could crawl in bed with. Stéphanie is both pragmatic and creative, mature and silly, and — perhaps most interesting of all — she's no great beauty and is somewhat self-conscious about it. But her charms and creativity still manage to win her the artfreak she loves. (Scandalous! A flat-chested rail of a woman with messy, unwashed hair and eyebags winning a heartthrob? Only in an art flick, kids.)

There are moments of tediom in this film, but those moments are inconsequential if you just let yourself get lost in Gondry's spectacle of low-tech whimsy.

2 Comments:

Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I would definitely love to get lost in Gondry's world, but movies this good just don't play in my little corner of the world .. oh well, at least there's DVD!

Tue Oct 17, 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

I see you're from Macon, Georgia! I was through your neck of the woods about a week ago. Good peoples!

So, about this movie. If it's any consolation, it doesn't strike me as the kind of movie that will lose a lot of impact once it moves to DVD. So hang tight!

Wed Oct 18, 12:40:00 AM  

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