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The Science of Sleep

The Science of Sleep title card

Year - 2006
Studio - Warner Independent Pictures, Gaumont
Stars - Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat, Miou-Miou, Emma de Caunes
Director - Michel Gondry
Writing Credits - Michel Gondry
Music - Jean-Michel Bernard


Stéphane Miroux (Gael García Bernal), a graphic artist, has returned to Paris from Mexico, to take a job arranged by his mother. His is disheartened that the new job involves only typesetting and no artistic creativity. Nevertheless, Stéphane's world is filled with creativity in his nightly dreams, where he holds his Stéphane Television "broadcast" as host, musician, cameraman, etc. His dream world is so pervasive in his life that dreams and reality regularly intersect.

He meets Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who lives in the adjoining apartment, but he's initially more interested in her girl friend, Zoé (Emma de Caunes). But he begins to appreciate Stéphanie as a creative soul mate, and, together, they make kinetic table top displays from paper and fabric. Stéphane is also an inventor, and he makes her a little cloth horse that gallops gracefully around her apartment floor, and a "one second time machine", that can take the user one second into the future or into the past.

Science of Sleep poster

His creativity is rewarded by his employer, when they publish St├ęphane's calendar, with twelve impressionistic drawings of famous disasters in history.

Stéphane is frustrated that Stéphanie does not respond to his romantic overtures and is only interested in him platonically. He buys a return air ticket to Mexico but, at his mother's urging, goes to Stéphanie's apartment to say goodbye. When he falls asleep on her bed, Stéphanie realizes that she belongs with him. She joins him in his dreams, riding a cloth horse under cotton cloud skies, to a paper boat on a cellophane sea.

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