Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The Science of Sleep

Just a few quick comments on this one. It certainly is a unique film, warm and quirky - favourite film descriptors for me. It poses definite challenges for the left-brained, however. Some left-brained types will never bother to see it or if they do, won't get past the first half hour. While it's not my natural world, I appreciate right-brained material enough to make it through and enjoy it, but not enough to deeply get it or love it.

So there are some great moments in it. I was struck by how much I felt the vulnerability when the two neighbours entered into the creative process together - thrilling on one level, but you can feel how much they're risking by sharing this private world and playing/creating together.

But alas - my poor left brain couldn't stop asking unhelpful questions: Is he mentally ill? What was really happening and what was imagination/dream? Questions that really add little or nothing to the film.

So, the creative and non-linear will love it much more than I, but I'll give it a middle of the road **+


  1. As a primarily right-brained viewer, I could barely tolerate the first 30 minutes of the film - and yet it was hard to stop watching it given it's "quirky warmth."

  2. I feel much less handicapped. I find it comforting that some things are so random they strain even the right-brained.

  3. it's funny, in a film like this, characteristic of charlie kauffman (i.e. eternal sunshine, adaptation, being john malkovich), i think we have to read things without much focus on logic or even plot per se. for me, i watch this film not looking for story, but looking for what the dominating emotion or idea is. this film seems to star the concept of interconnectedness and its all engulfing influences rather than anything else... though bernal's vulnerability is endearing, and though he may have a mental disorder. haaha

    ps. one of my secret pet projects is to write a movie that stars compassion as a universal cosmic living force... kind of discovery channel meets james bond... j/k

  4. I finally had a chance to watch this last night. Walter, I am slightly more right-brained than you are, so perhaps that is why I enjoyed it more than you did, although I was also asking the kind of questions you found less helpful. But the movie surprised me and challenged me in many ways, and that's what I look for in a good film.
    For example, the film really made me feel the "angst" of relationships, of the longing for love, of how two young adults can seem incapable of communicating while still being connected at a deeper level. There was also an excellent portrayal of a sense of feeling completely lost in the real world, combined with the childlikeness of the protagonist, after returning to his childhood home following the death of his father. I could identify with some of these feelings at a gut level and it made me anxious, especially when the film didn't follow through with its romantic comedy beginnings and took a slightly dark turn. I like to be surprised and I like to feel strong emotions when watching a film. I also like to be left with many questions, like trying to analyze the dreams, the possible mental illness and the exact nature of the relationships - there was a lot to think about afterwards.
    I thought Bernal's acting, as the rest of the acting, was first-rate. And the office characters, in particular, were inspired.
    Still, the film was far from perfect. It was too confusing at points and left me in the end with too many thoughts of "that didn't quite make sense".
    But from me, The Science of Sleep gets a least a solid three stars, leaning toward three and a half.