Conversations: Michel Gondry

Inside the dream life of Michel Gondry.


In this week’s Conversation, Michel Gondry, the French director known in the United States largely for his music videos and 2004′s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” talks about one of his preoccupations: love. His new film, “The Science of Sleep,” is based largely on his own love life and dream life — as he tells Salon film critic Andrew O’Hehir, “You know you’re in love with somebody when you talk with this person in your head for more than 20 minutes per day.” He also discusses building time machines, describes a sexual position called the goat on the cliff and even performs a few magic tricks, though they don’t transfer particularly well to a podcast. (Click here to listen.)

The main character in the film is an inventor, and he creates a time machine that can go one second into the future. What’s the point of that?

The point is to seduce a girl. It’s the only point! It’s how I came up with the idea. A guy told me that he used that with a girlfriend to seduce her — he pretended to have a time machine and kissed her.

You have a way of undermining the romance in the film with humor, almost silliness.

That’s how I see romanticism, and even sexuality.

If you make love with a woman, if you’re not in a humorous place, you’re facing the worst ridicule. Because everything can go wrong, and if you’re so serious about it, if you fail — if you can’t get it up, if you go too early, if you can’t find the right hole — you’re going to be so ridiculed that you need to be ready for that.

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