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a crack in your ear through which sound surreptitiously slips, or an illicit substance which gives your ears immense pleasure while enslaving them to a crippling addiction

Friday, September 22, 2006

michel gondry

I had always heard that Spike Jonze (the guy who directed Being John Malkovich and Adaptation) was a really great music video director, but I'd never seen any of his videos. So one day I was at the video store, and I noticed a collection of his work, and I rented it. His videos were very entertaining, and I noticed it was part of a series of collections of music videos by various directors. So I decided to look at the next one on the shelf, which happened to be a collection of Michel Gondry's work. I'd never heard of Michel Gondry, but the cover of the DVD had Legos on it, which was a big plus...

Now, you have to understand, I've never been a big fan of music videos, I think most of them are pretty boring. But when I started watching Gondry's work, I was taken with it right away. I'd never seen any of it before, I didn't even know it existed. But every one of his videos was based on a really clever, beautiful, and brilliant visual concept.

He made a video palindrome for the Cibo Mato song "Sugar Water." The screen is divided in half, and the right half is just the left half played backwards, yet the whole thing comes together to tell a story.

Another video, for "Star Guitar" by The Chemical Brothers, is simply looking out the window of a moving train, but Gondry uses digital effects to sychronize the passing landscape to the music.

A lot of his work uses stop motion animation. In this video for "Fell in Love with a Girl" by the White Stripes, he animates with Legos. (Legos, by the way, are one of the great inventions of modern man)

The DVD also includes several short films and commercials he directed, along with a well-made 70 minute documentary about his work. I loved it so much that I went out the next day and bought it. It's the first DVD I ever purchased, and for a long while it was the only DVD I owned.

I became very interested in Gondry's work (which includes the films Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and suggested to Studio 360 that it might be fun to do a piece about him (this was about a year ago). I contacted his publicist, and of course they wanted to wait for his movie to come out (so that, like, 500 pieces about him would appear all at once...). But I kept up correspondence with them, and three weeks ago I finally got to meet him. We spent an hour talking about all kinds of things, mostly his new film The Science of Sleep. The completed segment is airing this weekend on Studio 360.

You can hear the segment by clicking on this sentence.

In the piece, he talks about how he really just started doing all this creative stuff to meet girls, and that it turned out to maybe not be the best strategy after all... but still has its rewards nonetheless.

At the end of the interview, I asked him to sign my DVD (just couldn't help myself). He told me that my request was very unprofessional, and then said (in his thick French accent), "but, you know, in French, amateur means 'lover of things'..." So I guess that eased my embarrasment a little. And then he signed my DVD, even drew a little picture. Here's what it looks like:



Blogger tront said...

don't you wish sometime he would just break down and use a computer??? have you seen his new beck videos? Some good stuff

11:34 PM

Anonymous ericaoherica said...

Hey J -
was thinking about you and then I found your blog. Funny. I saw science of sleep a little while ago and felt like Mr. Gondry had taken all those lovely ideas that he's had over the years and found a way to use them to amplify a story that struck close to my heart in a way his other work has suceeded. I'm excited to listen to your interview.

12:02 PM


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