Monday, January 15, 2007

The Director Series - Michel Gondry

Movie name: The Work of Director Michel Gondry
Year of release: 2003
Director: Michel Gondry
Stars: Bjork, Cibo Matto, Foo Fighters, Kylie Minogue, Daft Punk, The White Stripes, Massive Attack, The Rolling Stones, The Chemical Brothers
Genre: Compilation, Music Videos, Short movies, Commercials
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Format: DVD

Michel Gondry the award winning director of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” started his career as a video director, and this compilation of his work on the “Directors Label” celebrates his unique vision and his artistry in working with different pop/rock artists.

Michel Gondry the French filmmaker responsible for titles as “Human Nature”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Science of Sleep”, started gaining momentum as a video director coincidentally with the beginning of another pop icon’s celebrated career – Bjork. The beginning of their collaboration in 1993 with “Human Behavior”, opened the way for all the videos that they would create afterwards and that were celebrated and awarded with several accolades. The Directors Label that initially released the works of Chris Cunningham and Spike Jonze (both of which also worked with Bjork), has already added more high profile names such as Mark Romanek, Stephane Sednaoui, Anton Corbijn and Jonathan Glazer. These are all names that have evolved from commercials to the film world, with different results, but nonetheless, their work in the commercial/video genre is undoubtedly terrific. Michel Gondry’s DVD in particular allows for a good sample of his work in commercials, such as the one he did for Levis, and also some of his short films, however it’s in the videos that his universe and creativity shine through. The DVD divides itself in two sections (and in two sides, A and B), with the videos ordered chronologically (they can be seen sequentially or by artist) – there is also included the short film/documentary “I’ve been 12 forever”, where you can hear Michel Gondry discuss how he outlined his concepts for each video, and some of the difficulties creating them. The documentary also showcases interviews with the artists involved in the clips, and their relationships with Gondry and their feedback upon seeing the completed result of their efforts. It’s particularly interesting to hear Dave Grohl’s comments, where he basically says that he would do or wear anything just to be a part of Michel Gondry’s artistic vision. What really shines through in this DVD and in this extensive collection of videos, is the absolute imagination and creativity that comes from the universe of Michel Gondry. From his work with Bjork, to the amazing kaleidoscope effects that dominate the videos for The Chemical Brothers and The White Stripes, to the multiple Kylie Minogues going around in a circle, there’s always a huge amount of imagination and irreverence functioning. In Michel Gondry’s work it’s not the CGI that dominates, but always the traditional effects and what the camera and “stop motion animation” can do – in a way, it’s like entering the universe of a 12 year old, one with movie cameras to use to bring it live and in color. Also like the other DVDs in the collection, this one brings a little book, filled with photos, storyboards and concepts from the creation of the videos. This is a terrific collection of work, it allows you to understand most of what “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” showcased, but also this is work that stands on it’s own - it’s original, unique and totally unlike anything you’ll ever see.