Monday, December 12, 2011

Now playing: The Science of Sleep

Posted By on 12.12.11 at 12:00 PM

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If you’ve missed Pamela Robertson-Wojcik’s film and lecture series at the Gene Siskel Film Center—”Designs for Living,” a consideration of movies’ use of apartment settings to depict urban life—tomorrow’s your last chance to catch up. The series has brought to Chicago some very good prints of some great movies (Claudine, Polanski’s The Tenant, and, of course, The Apartment), and Robertson-Wojcik’s smart, visual-sociological analysis has shed new light on even the most familiar titles.

A recurring theme of the lectures has been the bachelor pad as a symbol of sexual liberty—which makes the apartment setting something of a petri dish for contemporary social-sexual mores. It should be interesting to hear Robertson-Wojcik’s take on Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep (2006), since that film seems to eschew sociological detail for a look at the hero’s inner life. It’s one of the more exacting re-creations of dream logic ever put on film, with most of the movie’s second half taking place entirely in the main character’s unconscious. Science is also one of Gondry’s finest achievements to date, a stunning re-creation of dreams’ fluid shifts in time and space.

Dreams, like surrealist art, derive their power from the mutation of recognizably realistic details. If memory serves, The Science of Sleep mainly takes place in the hero’s apartment—so Robertson-Wojcik should have plenty to say about the film’s depiction of apartment life, which informs its realism.

The screening takes place tomorrow at 6 PM.

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