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The Science of Sleep

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Michel Gondry, known for his music videos (for Bjork and others) and his collaborations with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (directing Human Nature and cowriting and directing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), debuts as a full-fledged writer-director in this charming comedy. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as an obsessive young Mexican illustrator trying to settle down in Paris with his French mother (Miou-Miou) and reach some kind of emotional equilibrium with an equally obsessive neighbor (Charlotte Gainsbourg). The story is as much about imagination and innocence as the hero's unstable life and career, so there are many flights of fancy, some concerning an imaginary TV talk show on which he's both host and guest. Gondry is a soft surrealist without much of a sociopolitical agenda, closer to Dr. Seuss than Luis Bunuel; the closest movie antecedent for this romantic fantasy may be Richard Lester's The Knack, and How to Get It (1965). In English and subtitled French and Spanish. R, 105 min. a Century 12 and CineArts 6, Pipers Alley, River East 21.

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