THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP (LA CIENCIA DEL SUEÑO) (Michel Gondry, 2006)
J. Hood Wright Park
351 Fort Washington Ave.
Wednesday, July 12, free, 8:30
Series continues Friday nights through July 28 (and September 7)
The tenth anniversary of Films on the Green continues with a bonus Wednesday screening July 12 in J. Hood Wright Park of eclectic auteur Michel Gondry’s feature-length debut as both writer and director. The Science of Sleep is a complex, confusing, kaleidoscopic stew that is as charming as it is frustrating. Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries, Mozart in the Jungle) stars as the juvenile but endearing Stéphane, a young man in a silly hat who has trouble differentiating dreams from reality. The childlike Stéphane becomes friends with his new neighbor, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin), who still has plenty of the child left inside her as well. Stéphane has a job his mother (Miou-Miou) got him, toiling for a small company that makes calendars, alongside the hysterical Guy (Alain Chabat), who can’t help constantly poking fun at coworkers Serge (Sacha Bourdo) and Martine (Aurélia Petit). Gondry, who is also responsible for the brilliant Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as well as the highly entertaining Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and the bizarre Human Nature, uses low-tech green-screening and stop-motion animation to reveal Stéphane’s fantasy world, bringing to mind such masters as Jan Svankmajer and the Brothers Quay. Unfortunately, just as Stéphane can’t tell what’s real from what he’s dreaming, viewers will often have difficulty as well; some of the plot turns are downright infuriating, and Stéphane’s TV show teeters on the edge of embarrassing. But you’ll also be hard-pressed not to leave the park feeling like a kid in a candy store. Presented in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, the screening, which is in French and English, will be shown with Spanish subtitles. Produced by the French Embassy, FACE Foundation, and NYC Parks, Films on the Green continues Friday nights through July 28 (before a September 7 finale) with such other French works as Marcel Carné’s Port of Shadows selected by Laurie Anderson, Jean Grémillon’s Lumière d'été picked and introduced by Matías Piñeiro, Jean Renoir’s Elena and Her Men chosen by Isabella Rossellini, and François Truffaut’s The Wild Child selected by James Ivory.