The Science of Sleep (Science des Rêves, La) (Directors Suite) (2006)

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Released 12-Sep-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of-(17:11)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Gondry (7:36) Bernal (5:14) Chabat (7:37) Gainsbourg (2:29)
Theatrical Trailer-US Version (2:20)
Trailer-The Five Obstructions (1:32) 16x9 enhanced
Trailer-Vivre Sa Vie (1:06)
Trailer-2046 (2:49) 16x9 enhanced
Trailer-Down By Law (2:39) 16x9 enhanced
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 101:41 (Case: 105)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michel Gondry
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Gael García Bernal
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Alain Chabat
Miou-Miou
Pierre Vaneck
Emma de Caunes
Aurélia Petit
Sacha Bourdo
Stéphane Metzger
Alain de Moyencourt
Inigo Lezzi
Yvette Petit
Jean-Michel Bernard
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Jean-Michel Bernard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Close your eyes. Open your heart.

In our dreams we can be whoever we want to be – we can be strong, beautiful and determined. We can control how people view us, we can fulfil our heart’s desires as we have no one other then ourselves to please. While it may be a selfish existence, it is nevertheless safe and confined and only limited by our imagination. Yet in the real world we must live up to our family’s, friend’s and peer’s expectations of us and often we must compromise our dreams for those we love – it is an uncertain world in which we must give and take and be grateful for what we have. Lost between these two worlds is Stéphane Miroux, an alter-ego of director Michel Gondry, whose deeply personal film La science des rêves (literally The Science of Dreams) presents the tale of a young man who thrives in the dream world, but appears awkward and dysfunctional in reality.

Stéphane Miroux (Gael García Bernal) has often been withdrawn emotionally and physically from reality since childhood, and after the death of his father he returns to his childhood home in France after many years in Mexico. His mother Christine (Miou-Miou) who is married to Gérard (Alain de Moyencourt) a magician, promises her son a creative job and the sanctuary of his childhood bedroom if he stays in France. Even though Stéphane seems reluctant to stay in France - he is intrigued by the offer of a job at a small calendar-printing company. Unfortunately Stéphane quickly learns the job in question is actually quite mundane and his co-workers while fascinating can become irritating. There is the office bully, Guy (Alain Chabat), who he later befriends, the quiet Martine (Aurélia Petit) and her assistant, the victimised Serge (Sacha Bourdo).

In dreams, emotions are overwhelming.

Unable to fit in at work – Stéphane begins to grow bored and would rather return to fantasy than live in reality. But one fateful day Stéphane inadvertently meets Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who is moving into his building. Stéphanie’s friend Zoé (Emma de Caunes) is also in the building helping Stéphanie move her many belongings. In an unlucky (or lucky) accident these three characters will meet and Stéphane will be forced to open his heart and reconcile his new found feelings for another. Stéphane initially has a crush on the outgoing Zoé but he begins to fall for Stéphanie as she looks after his injured hand and is enthusiastic about his childlike inventions. They decide to make a short animated film together and Stéphane lets her into his private world. Yet despite their obvious attraction Stéphanie resists Stéphane’s advances. She is fearful of being hurt because she knows Zoé was Stéphane’s first choice. She, like Stéphane has trouble relating to people, trusting people and what follows is their attempts to make their relationship work and remain true to their heart’s desires.

This is a beautifully conceived film as Gondry depicts the awkwardness of relationships and friendships with brutal honesty. Stéphane tries to be what Stéphanie wants and Stéphanie tries to be what Stéphane needs and both characters confide in their friends only to be left confused and anxious. Stéphane and Stéphanie are the same yet dissimilar – she understands his world but is scared of connecting to the fragile Stéphane, while he tries to fit in her world but does not want to give up the sanctity of his dreams. Gondry further adds another layer to the rich story by not distinguishing reality from the dream sequences, subsequently, as an audience we begin to understand the world from Stéphane’s surreal point of view.

The performances all round are enchanting. Gael García Bernal gives his somewhat self-centered character heart and charm, while Charlotte Gainsbourg is luminous as the bewildered and yet genuinely concerned Stéphanie. Alain Chabat is wonderfully outrageous particularly in his scenes with Sacha Bourdo. Gondry’s use of lo-tech stop motion and in-camera effects are admirable and brilliant, as are the film’s contraptions – such as the one-second time machine, the 3-D glasses, Stéphanie’s patchwork horse affectionately named Golden the Pony Boy and of course Stéphane TV. La Science des rêves is best described as a lucid dream – the film is not constructed in a clear linear narrative order but rather as a series of moments which are stimulated by the protagonist’s confused emotions and need to love and be loved. Many critics described the film as a pretentious mess and the conclusion of the film as unfinished. Personally I don’t believe so – the conclusion is fitting in regard’s to the character’s nature. It is a remarkably haunting scene. La Science des rêves is a strange concoction of the weird and wonderful, the magical and sublime and the infantile and mischievous and while it is an acquired taste, if you are a fan of Gondry’s you will enjoy this film as it is imbued with his beautifully strange characters and wild and vivid imagination.

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Transfer Quality

Video

La Science des rêves is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and it is 16x9 enhanced.

Over a dual layer DVD, the film has been encoded at the average high bit-rate of 7.48 Mb/s which accounts for a clean transfer free of MPEG compression artefacts.

The PAL transfer has good shadow detail and black levels and the picture is sharp and defined with a natural and vibrant colour scheme. There are no evident colour bleeding artefacts or assorted film artefacts.

The English subtitles for the French and Spanish dialogue appear on an optional subtitle stream as a yellow Arial font.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The audio soundtracks are available in English 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround (256kb/s) and English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround (448Kb/s).

Both soundtracks remain clear and have no lip-synchronisation errors.

The use of surround sound is discreet as the sound is mostly focused at the front of the soundstage but it is a suitable soundtrack in regards to the overall quiet nature of the film. However a number of the wild dream sequences feature sounds emitted from the rear speakers and mild use of the subwoofer. There are scenes which feature nicely mixed sound effects and dialogue, for example at 85:00, these scenes feature the various characters’ thoughts over the action of the film mixed with eerie synthesizer sounds to reflect the protagonist’s growing anxiety.

The soundtrack features an original score by Jean-Michel Bernard. During the dream sequences, Bernard’s score becomes wild and improvised with rich electronic sounds and yet during the more intimate moments the sound is restricted to simple piano melodies. A number of songs also feature music by artists Gondry has directed music video’s for such as The Willowz and The White Stripes, and other artists such as Kool & The Gang, The Undisputed Truth and Dick Annegarn. The film also features a cover version of The Velvet Underground’s song After Hours, performed by Linda Serbu.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

All menus are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and are 16x9 enhanced. The nicely designed menus reference Stéphane TV and feature the cardboard camera and television with subtle animation. There is a setup option and 24 scene selections. The menu design and layout is very similar to the Region 2 (French) Disc 1 menus.

Making of The Science of Sleep (17:11)

The featurette is made up of raw production footage. We see how key visual effects were created on set and the finished product for comparison. The behind the scenes footage allows us to see how Gondry and the cast and crew used set design, rear projection, water tanks and miniatures to create the visual effects. We are briefly also allowed to see how the score was created and see Gondry at the drum-kit. There are no subtitles for the French spoken between the cast and crew. Presented in 1.33:1 full-screen.

Cast Interviews

The following interviews can be viewed separately or together as one feature. All are presented in 1.33:1 full-screen.

Gondry talks about casting Charlotte Gainsbourg, directing the performances, the creation and impact of dreams and the final scenes of the film.

García Bernal explains how he sees his character and how he approached the complex nature of the film – both in terms of the script’s themes and the production of the film.

Chabat explains the comedy and complex nature of his character as well as his experiences of working with Gondry and García Bernal.

Gainsbourg speaks about how she was approached to do the film, her first impressions of the script and working on the film.

Theatrical Trailer

The US Theatrical Trailer for The Science of Sleep features Fear of Sleep by The Strokes and Your Heart Is an Empty Room by Death Cab for Cutie. Presented in 1.33:1 full-screen.

Madman Propaganda

Following an anti-piracy warning and a brief advertisement for The Work of Director – Michel Gondry the following trailers can be accessed:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

For English speaking audiences the best release of La science des rêves is the Region 1 Warner Brothers Home Entertainment single DVD release featuring:

For French speaking audiences the best release of La science des rêves is the Region 2 (France) Gaumont Columbia Tristar Home Video 2 Disc DVD Set featuring:

DISC 1

DISC 2

It seems The Making of documentary which appears on the R4 disc at the length of 17 minutes is in fact edited from the 40 minute The Making of documentary which appears in it’s entire length on both the R1 Warner release and the R2 (France) Gaumont release.

Summary

La Science des rêves is a strange concoction of the weird and wonderful, the magical and sublime, and the infantile and mischievous and while it is an acquired taste, if you are a fan of Michel Gondry’s, you will enjoy this film as it is imbued with his beautifully strange characters and wild and vivid imagination.

While the film’s presentation is commendable on this Madman release, it is unfortunate that we missed out on many extras, including a cast and crew commentary, the complete version of a very interesting documentary and the alternate version of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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