Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Strange Happenings in St. Germain

ParisUpdate-Cleary:Connolly:Meta-perceptual-helmet

The “Cyclops” helmet.

> The exhibition Bizarro, with works by a number of artists, fills seven Left Bank galleries with “Bêtes de Scènes et Sacrés Monstres.” Don’t miss the Meta-perceptual Helmets by the Irish duo Cleary/Connolly at the Librairie Alain Brieux, which allow the viewer to see forward and backward, for example, or the way a cyclops or horse would see. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 30.

Car-free Paris!
> On the Journée sans Voiture, motor traffic will be banned in a large part of Paris and discouraged in the rest of the city from 11am to 6pm. Sept. 25.

Top of the tower
> The 16th-century Tour St. Jacques in the heart of Paris is temporarily open for guided tours and splendid views of the city. Reservation required. Paris, through Sept. 25.

Nationwide food festival 
> Tastings, special menus in restaurants and more during the Fête de la Gastronomie. Various locations, Sept. 23-25.

Two meals for the price of one
> Restaurants participating in Tous au Restaurant offer a second fixed-price menu for free. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 2.

Whisky-a-go-go
> Whisky tastings, food pairings, cocktails and more at the Festival Whisky Live Paris. Les Docks-Cité de la Mode et du Design, Paris, Sept. 24-25.

Feel-good films
> Classic movies starring the Marx Brothers, Peter Sellers, Cary Grant and more are sure to raise a smile at the festival Qu’est-ce qu’on Attend pour Être Heureux!, Forum des Images, Paris, through Oct. 2.

Hitchcock’s silent films
> The festival Les Neufs Films Muets d’Alfred Hitchcock presents all the silent movies by the master of suspense. Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, through Sept. 27.

Indian films
> Indian film festival. Musée Guimet, Paris, through Sept. 30.

Chanson française
> L’Estival features singers performing in French. Various locations, Saint Germain-en-Laye, Sept. 23-Oct. 8.

Antique fair in a bucolic setting
> A visit to the Foire de Chatou antique market and regional products fair makes a great weekend outing. Chatou, Sept. 23-Oct. 2.

Contemporary arts festival
> The Festival d’Automne presents leading talents in art, dance, film, theater and more from around the world. Various venues, Paris, through Dec. 31.

Free outdoor opera
> Opéra Côté Cour puts on live performances at 3:30pm and 5pm. Bercy Village, Paris, Sept. 25.

Classical, world, jazz & electronic
> The Festival d’Ile de France holds concerts in various locations in Paris and elsewhere, through Oct. 9.

Music & more in park bandstands
Kiosques en Fête brings life to the bandstands in Paris’s parks with concerts, writing workshops, club meetings and even a square dance. Various locations, Paris, through Dec. 31.

Music on the beach
> Sandy beach and nightly concerts or DJs at La Plage de Glaz’Art. Paris, through Oct. 1.

Garden festival
> Meet the gardeners and landscape architects, take a gardening class, listen to music, etc. at the Fête des Jardins. Various locations, Paris, Sept. 24-25.

Amazing gardens
> The popular Festival International des Jardins de Chaumont-sur-Loireis held annually in the park of the Château de Chaumont in Chaumont-sur-Loire, through Nov. 2.

Especially for kids
> The Festival les Pestacles offers concerts and other activities for kiddies age five and up. Parc Floral, Paris, through Sept. 28.

 

Film - Comedy

 

The Science of Sleep

Stuck in Dreamworld
Dream or reality? Guy (Alain Chabat) dukes it out with big-handed Stéphane (Gael Garcia Bernal).

use of pseudo-scientific ideas to explore what happens when love is induced through dreams.

The new film, the first Gondry has both scripted and directed, stars that young actor the camera (and the audience) just loves, Gael Garcia Bernal. Oozing charm and boyish good looks as usual, he romps his way through this film as a naïve young half-Mexican guy, Stéphane, whose French mother lures him to Paris by claiming that she has found him a job as an illustrator.

The job turns out to be not at all what it was cracked up to be, but it provides an excuse to introduce some wacky co-workers (notably Alain Chabat as Guy) and provide a brilliant portrait of a small French business, a producer of tacky promotional calendars for companies, that is stuck in the 1950s.

Meanwhile, Stéphane is stuck in his childhood. He sleeps in his boyhood bed and believes that people can connect in their dreams, which is just what happens with his next-door neighbor, Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a young woman who is also in touch with her inner child but is slightly more mature than the playful, babyish (he cries a lot) Stéphane.

The Science of Sleep is full of fun, fantasy, poetry, romance, color, creativity and crazy antics, but in the end the charm seems forced. The logic that should underpin the idea of two people connecting in their dreams gets lost, and so does the audience, wondering what is supposed to have really happened and what happened only in Stéphane’s dream world. And, although much of the film is played for laughs, it elicits surprisingly few from the audience. All the elements are there – great idea, actors, cinematography, props, music, etc. – but this scientific experiment fizzles in the end.

Heidi Ellison


© 2006 Paris Update

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