The Science of Sleep

August 16, 2006 0 By Fans
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Still of Alain Chabat and Gael García Bernal in The Science of SleepStill of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Gael García Bernal in The Science of SleepSacha Bourdo at event of The Science of SleepCharlotte Gainsbourg, Gael García Bernal and Michel Gondry in The Science of SleepStill of Gael García Bernal in The Science of SleepStill of Gael García Bernal in The Science of Sleep


A man entranced by his dreams and imagination is lovestruck with a French woman and feels he can show her his world.

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 7.3/10 (38,960 voted)

Critic's Score: 70/100

Michel Gondry

Stars: Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Miou-Miou

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…


Gael García Bernal

Stéphane Miroux

Charlotte Gainsbourg


Alain Chabat



Christine Miroux

Pierre Vaneck

Monsieur Pouchet

Emma de Caunes


Aurélia Petit


Sacha Bourdo


Stéphane Metzger


Alain de Moyencourt


(as Decourt Moyen)

Inigo Lezzi

Monsieur Persinnet

Yvette Petit


Jean-Michel Bernard

Piano-playing Policeman

Eric Mariotto


Bertrand Delpierre

Présentateur JT

Close your eyes. Open your heart.


Official Website:
Gaumont Columbia Tristar [France] |
Official site [Spain] |

Release Date: 16 August 2006

Filming Locations: Chérence, Val-d'Oise, France

Box Office Details

Budget: $6,000,000


Opening Weekend: $347,925
(24 September 2006)
(14 Screens)

Gross: $4,663,809
(17 December 2006)

Technical Specs



Did You Know?


Acquired by Warner Independent Pictures at 2006 Sundance for $6 million.


[first lines]

¡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 day… mixed with some memories from the past.

User Review

Pure genius from the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Rating: 10/10

The Science of Sleep is most likely the best and most visionary film
playing at Sundance this year (I say most likely because I've only seen
two, but I doubt that anything can top it). Furthermore, I believe that
The Science of Sleep is one of the best and most visionary films I've
ever seen.

The Science of Sleep is about Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal), a creative
and naïve dreamer who moves from Mexico to his childhood home in Paris
after his father's death. He takes a job at a calendar company,
assuming that it will allow him to express himself creatively. Living
across from Stephane is Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), an equally
creative woman. They form a relationship and as it grows, it becomes
threatened by Stephane's overactive dream world, which begins creeping
into his waking life.

The Science of Sleep marks the screen writing debut of director Michel
Gondry. This is Gondry's third theatrical feature film, after Human
Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Much like last year's
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, where it was unfiltered Shane Black on the screen;
The Science of Sleep is pure Gondry from start to finish. This is
Gondry's immense visual world unrestrained by a script by Charlie
Kaufman, and this world of fancy and imagination is where the film

The title sequence is set to the image of spin art (think back to the
days of your school carnival) as we enter Stephane's active dream
world. The paint layers upon itself as the colors stretch further and
further outward, while we hear Stephane dreaming. This perfectly sets
the tone for the rest of the film as we see bright and vibrant imagery
and characters layered upon each other and pulled outward into their
worlds. The magic of the sequence is broken, though, when we are
immediately brought into the real world.

Stephane's real life is as banal and mundane as anyone could imagine.
As an artist, he feels suffocated in a job where he "glues in a
basement all day." In his own time, he creates inventions such as 3D
glasses for real life ("Isn't real life already in 3D?" asks Stephanie)
or one second time machines. His indomitable creative spirit is what he
finds mirrored in the equally creative, yet more realistically centered

In direct contrast is Stephane's dream world. It is outlandish,
beautiful, and unrestrained. It is in these sequences when Gondry takes
flight. The sequences are filled with so much eye candy it is difficult
to take in. They range from the absurd (a spider typewriter), to the
grand (an entire cardboard city), or to the beautiful (a cloth
horseback ride to a boat on a sea of cellophane). What makes the
sequences all the more incredible is that, for the most part, he relies
only on practical effects. Also remarkable is the way that the dream
world represents the film's reality. The film is so very aware of
itself and its intentions and the dream sequences utilize that
knowledge to the full extent. As the dreams begin to invade the real
world, this knowledge becomes even more vital. Gondry's meticulous
attention to detail is a benefit, seeing as he does not confound
himself, and therefore does not confound the audience (for the most

It is also filled with wonderful dialogue, and it finds transcendent
humor through the characters. By using truth instead of punch lines to
provide the humor, Gondry adds another layer to his already versatile
film. The dialogue is in French, English, and Spanish, each seamlessly
interweaving with each other, much like the realities of the film
interweave. There comes a point in the film where you stop realizing
the language of the film is constantly changing. It comes as the three
worlds represented by the language (the Spanish is who Stephane was;
the English, he who is now; and the French is his dream of the future)
begin to merge into Stephane's one reality.

The film truly ascends to its full potential when it arrives at such an
incredibly heightened state where we have little idea if we are in
reality or in a dream. It is a language of its own, and in and of
itself, it is seamless.

The Science of Sleep is not simply a visual wonder of a film, either.
The performances are touching and heartfelt. Gael Garcia Bernal
continues to be one of the most talented actors working. His
performance is filled with so much raw emotion, giving a strong
emotional core to the film. I believe that without his powerful and
nuanced performance, the spectacle of the film would have been too
much; however, Bernal keeps it grounded in reality with a performance
so truthful that the insanity happening around him seems completely
believable. The same can be said of Charlotte Gainsbourg as Stephanie,
as well as the myriad of supporting actors, each playing fully
developed characters.

Few films ever achieve their full potential, this exceeds it. The
Science of Sleep is a film that will excite you with its visual fancy,
and touch you with its powerful emotion. Michel Gondry has created a
film that even through the unbelievable proceedings, has so many
deftly-crafted human moments. Deep down, this film is a love story.
Going back to the title sequence's spin art, below all of layers being
spun and pushed around run currents of human emotion which Gondry
smartly anchors the film with; therefore, allowing it to soar.