THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP
starring Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat, Miou-Miou
written and directed by Michel Gondry
JET LI'S FEARLESS
starring Jet Li, Nakamura Shidou, Sun Li, Dong Yong
screenplay by Chris Chow, Christine To
directed by Ronny Yu
by Walter Chaw A cacophony of cascading whimsy, Michel Gondry's exercise in Freudian bric-a-brac The Science of Sleep plays like a movie based on a thrift store specializing in Harlequin novels--French Harlequin novels. It adheres to the music-video director's maxim of maximum images per second, and it casts Gael García Bernal as Stéphane, a useless lug endlessly working on a calendar of calamitous events and pining after his across-hall neighbour Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), with whom he is too smitten to confess that his mother is her landlord. His dreams take the form of a one-man variety show, while Gondry revels in scenes where he inflates his hero's hands and has him ride an animated patchwork horse. But The Science of Sleep is more exhausting than illuminating--more a loud masturbation than any kind of intercourse with the audience. The difference between the Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the Gondry of The Science of Sleep, it seems obvious to say, is the difference between a film scripted by Charlie Kaufman and one not, though it's more complicated than that in that the Kaufman of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an artist who finally struck a balance between affectation and a much finer connective tissue. Gondry is still just engaged in the twist.