Monday, June 25, 2007


Movie of the week:

Most people are rooted firmly in the real world, and others ……..

I must say that I am sometimes a member of the “others”. Dreams and fantasy form a big part of my life. Not that I need them. I mean, interesting and exciting things do happen to me. Like the time, last year, when I was hired to play a small part in an independent film. After my reading, they offered me a bigger role – that of the wise-cracking womanizing friend with a heart of gold. Two weeks into shooting, they signed Nicole Kidman. It took 125 takes to shoot our big scene together. Four weeks later, they replaced her with an Irish Setter. It took 125 takes to shoot our big scene together. Then, while on location in the Arizona dessert, I was abducted for four days by prairie dogs and was made their king. While in office, I authorized new den construction, water hole cleanup, settled territorial disputes, and organized a universal health care for all prairie dogs. When I got back to the set, I found they had replaced me with an Irish Setter. It took 125 takes to shoot his big scene. Nicole Kidman and I are suing for breech of contact. This is all done through our lawyers since we are both currently on location in New Zealand for the new Peter Jackson film. I ………..

Oh wait ………….. yeah, that probably didn’t happen.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell – not usually, but sometimes. For Stephane, the main character in this week’s movie THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP, reality and dreams are so closely intertwined that, to him, it makes little difference. Stephane has a little place in his head that he goes to when he sleeps, where he can examine and analyze elements of his life. It looks just like the real world – except that it seems to be constructed of toilet paper rolls. Yeah – that’s right, I said toilet paper rolls.

Stephane, following the death of his father in Mexico, has come to live with his mother in Paris. Now, I know what you’re thinking. He speaks Spanish, the story takes place in France, - I’m going to be reading subtitles. Right you are! That is if you only spoke French or Spanish – because they all speak in English in this movie. So now you have no excuse. He begins a new job (which he hates) and meets Stephanie, the girl next door (which he loves) – suffice it to say that he will spend a lot of time out of the real world.

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP is one of the most creative, inventive and visually exciting films to come along in recent years. It walks a fine line between sad and funny.

Why should you watch it?

  1. “I’ve never heard of this movie. If it was any good, I would have, at least, heard of it.” The truth is, you only ever hear of movies that are advertised on TV or in magazines or as trailers on other movies. Your local multiplex will only carry movies that get a lot of promotion – that they think will fill seats. If they don’t think it fits the formula profile, they won’t invest the money for an advertisement campaign. Consequently, it never plays in your town and you’ll never hear about it. That’s where I come in.
  2. #1 doesn’t mean the film’s not good. Most of the time, it’s just the opposite. The movies that play in you local multiplex are made for one purpose and one purpose only – to make as much money as possible for the investors. They don’t take chances with big money. They use formula plots that have been proven in the past to please audiences. They cast familiar faces. They often use a lot of special effects and stunts. What you end up with are movies like Evan Almighty, The Fantastic Four, and Norbit.
  3. On the other hand, small film makers know that they can’t compete with the big Hollywood machine. They know that the only way they can get their film seen and appreciated is if the script is well-written, the story is interesting, the roles are well acted, and they take some chances on style or subject matter to make their film stand out from the rest. More often than not, these are way more interesting and likeable movies than what you see in the theaters. Here you get movies like Memento, and Secretary, and THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP.
  4. Oh, and another thing – they occasionally make descent films in other countries too, like La Dolce Vita (Italy), and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Germany), and THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP (France). After a few of these, you get really adept at reading the subtitles without missing a beat.
  5. Michael Gondry, who directed the film, also made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and uses a similarly whimsical visual style.
  6. Ahhh! Young love. If they only knew what they were doing.
  7. It’s a very delicate balance between dreams and reality, between funny and sad, and between romance and "god, you just want to reach through the screen sometimes and whack him on the back of his head – duh!"
  8. It’s an escapist movie about escaping! It’s a make-believe story about make-believing! It’s an hour and 45 minutes long (sorry, it was all I could think of). I’ve been considering an alternate career in tag-line writing.
  9. Even if you didn’t go to tech school for four years to study Sleep Science, you can still enjoy this movie.
  10. I really identify with this film because, like Stephane, I also have an active fantasy life – like the time I imagined that I joined a blues band and played guitar, and even though I never sang in my life, I was the singer of the band, and we played for thousands of fans, and I belted out these searing guitar solos, and ……………….oh wait – no, I think that might have actually happened.

It won’t put you to sleep.



At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gael García of Amores perros is good in this.


At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having lived in both France and Germany I can attest that if you've ever seen or felt European toilet paper you would know why it makes better building material than anything you would want to rub parts of your body with!

At 9:34 AM, Blogger FranksFilms said...



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