Two bumbling store clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. In order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera, with a budget of zero dollars.
Following the death of his father in Mexico, Stéphane Miroux, a shy insecure young man, agrees to come to Paris to draw closer to his widowed mother Christine. He lands a boring job at a calendar-making firm and falls in love with his charming neighbor Stéphanie. But conquering her is no bed of roses for the young man and the only solution he finds to put up with the difficulties he is going through is escape into a dream world...Written by
Rhys Ifans was set to play the lead role. He worked with Michel Gondry on the first drafts of the script and came up with the name for the movie. He is thanked in the closing credits. See more »
¡Un, dos, tres, cuatro!
[Stéphane plays the drums, then the piano, then moves the cameras. "Stéphane TV"]
Hi, and welcome back to another episode of "Télévision Educative". Tonight, I'll show you how dreams are prepared. People think it's a very simple and easy process but it's a bit more complicated than that. As you can see, a very delicate combination of complex ingredients is the key. First, we put in some random thoughts. And then, we add a little bit of reminiscences of the ...
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The French DVD edition present a alternate version of the film made of B-roll footage. See more »
THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP (Michael Gondry - France/Italy 2006).
There's something magical about this wonderfully sweet romantic fantasy by Michael Gondry. A love story, emotionally rich with dazzling dream-like visuals, done the old-fashioned way with simple stop-motion animation techniques. We see Stéphane flying above his cardboard imagination of Paris and later, we see him sitting in the bathtub full of silver cellophane. It's Gondry's first film as writer-director after a two-feature partnership with Philip Kaufman. Not surprisingly, it feels a bit Kaufmanesque, as Gondry's previous "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", but now dreams have replaced memory.
Stéphane can hardly make the distinction between his own dreamworld and the outside reality and doesn't know a whole lot about love. For no apparent reason he lies to Stéphanie that he lives next door to her, which results in some comic situations. He also wants to be an inventor and so he gives her his 3-D glasses, 'but the world is already in 3-D', she replies. He is a man-child, unable to adjust himself to the everyday realities of the outside world.
Ultimately the relationship between Stéphane and Stéphanie ends in a kind of stalemate, and so does the film itself. How do you end a film? With most films I can't wait till it's over, but here it seemed like the last twenty minutes got lost in the editing room. A very abrupt ending. The film might have a bit of an unsatisfying resolution, but Gondry creates magic here. It's the dreamworld that makes this rise above the level of just another romantic comedy, and it's funny, very funny. The breathtaking stop-motion animation is a feast for the eye and the sets and creations are wonderful to look at. The film had me in a permanent smile.
Camera Obscura --- 8/10
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