In the following essay, I would like to closely analyze several of Stephane’s dreams. Stephane is the protagonist in the movie “The Science of Sleep”. This is a romantic comedy about a man who has vivid and eccentric dreams every night. When he falls in love with a woman named Charlotte he decides to introduce her to his dream world. However, the dreams which will be analyzed in this paper take place in the beginning of the movie, when Stephane and Charlotte have not met yet.
The first dream that will be analyzed is the very first one, in the very beginning of the movie. As the movie starts, the viewer does not know yet that this is a dream. Only upon seeing Stephane’s second dream does one realize this.
The beginning of this dream is rather awkward. Stephane is located in a room that looks like a small, old-fashioned TV studio. He is hosting a show about “how dreams are made”. He talks about the different ingredients of a dream. Among them: thoughts, music, previous experiences, etc. Each of these is represented by some sort of “ingredient”, e.g., spaghetti (to symbolize the past), black paste (for thoughts), and other. All these ingredients/materials are put into a pot and a pink cloud emerges out of the pot. This is the dream. Furthermore, Stephane goes on to talk about his wish, which is going to a Duke Ellington’s concert with his father. It become apparent later on that this is impossible now that his father has passed away due to cancer. Interestingly, as one watches the movie further, it becomes apparent that Stephane’s father was a very important figure in his life, he plays a key role in many of his son’s dreams (thought his person is often projected onto other men).
The second dream that I would like to discuss is about Stephane’s job where he works as a graphic designer. In fact, this dream is centered on a conflict that the main character had with his boss, with the former calling him “not serious”. Of course, Stephane is very serious (and frank) about his creative processes, yet not all people are able to grasp this. It is evident in the dream that Stephane is angry at the manager for his authoritative tone and disregard for Stephane’s creative vigor. During this dream, he sees the boss/manager growing a beard with the help of a razor (which on the night prior cut Stephane as he was trying to shave his beard); this process is rather illogical. Now, the long beard makes his boss look like a beggar; further, he falls out of the window. Looking like a homeless man, he walks the streets with his plastic bags.
After this, Stephane takes his place, puts his drawings up on the walls with the help of the female employee. Then the two imitate a sexual intercourse on the xerox machine. Afterwards, Stephane starts dancing by the window, jumps out of it and flies over the rooftops. He hears a voice tell him, “Come in, action two. Can you complete the mission?” and wakes up in his bed. The dream ends here.
This last dream is also very symbolic as it shows Stephane being hurt by his boss’s lack of regard for his ideas. Furthermore, he feels vulnerable since his boss’s words were said in front of the other colleagues, including the female employee. It should be noted that Stephane’s mother helped him to find this job. Thus, the central topic is the oedipal complex (from a psychological perspective). Stephane wishes to take over the place of the father figure (who is critical of him and rather strict in his judgements; sharp, like a razor blade). The main character wishes to become the only central male figure and to be chosen by the female (mother) figure. The dream shows us what Stephane really feels about the situation at work: anger and hurt.
Thus, Stephane’s dreams help him to process those emotions which he cannot always show in real life, since they are complicated and may not be approved of by others.