The Mad Scientist of Sleep
Michel Gondry revolutionized the medium of music video with the incredible clips he made for Bjork, Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and a bunch of other lucky musicians. One of the great things about his aesthetic is that it is decidedly low tech. Whenever possible, Gondry likes to use old school camera tricks and the judicious use of stop animation rather than slick CGI effects. I think I'm one of the only humans who loved his wacky 2001 movie Human Nature. This movie began his collaboration with Charlie Kaufman, who wrote Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. This collaboration came to fruition with the colossal, stupendiferous Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Gondry's new movie finds him Kaufmanless, but I have a feeling that's not going to matter. Gondry's fevered imagination will be put through its paces on The Science of Sleep, which lists its opening date as September 22nd.
I won't go into any of the wacky particulars of the film beyond the basic premise of being based on Gondry's dreamlife. The lo-fi aesthetic is taken to a new level in this movie, with dream sequences constructed out of construction paper, felt, and other craft materials. The film stills that I have seen scream "EXTREME CRAFT", as does the website. The Science of Sleep website is a marvel of design. I'm usually a huge humbug on the subject of Flash websites, but this one translates the craft-y feel of the movie, with an oversized cursor, scrawled text, and an all-around considerate interface. Within the website is a mini-application that lets you make your own stop-animated movies with the virtual objects they provide. It's easily possible to lose an afternoon communing with the site.
Also, check out Salon.com's recent conversation with Gondry. The sillyhead behind the microphone forgets to turn on the machine for the first seven minutes, but catching up to the conversation only serves the keep the listener on their toes. When the movie finally opens (I'm not counting on September 22nd for Atlanta), I'll be first in line. In the meantime, I'll be working on my stop-animation opus on the website.