the music videos of michel gondry
43-year old Michel Gondry is well-known as a writer and director of films like the fantastic Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Before directing movies, though, Gondry built his reputation with innovative music videos.
Gondry started his musical career as the drummer for the French group Oui Oui, and he created four of their promo clips including 1989’s Les Cailloux and 1992’s La Ville. However, it was his work with Björk in 1993 for the odd and influential Human Behaviour that brought Gondry wide acclaim.
These 3 videos are among 16 I have selected for your viewing pleasure. They include artists ranging from Beck and Radiohead to Daft Punk and Kanye West. Deserving special mention is the concept for Come Into My World (see how fast you identify it) and the execution on Behind (1 frame per second during 7 days of driving).
Despite his Hollywood success (he won an Academy Award for the screenplay for Eternal Sunshine), Gondry continues to make music videos. As hard as it is to choose among the more than 60 he has created to date, I offer my top 5:
5) Massive Attack – Protection (1995). A gorgeous song and a video filled with detail and shifts in perspective. The set: a building 6 stories flat.
4) The White Stripes – Fell in Love with a Girl (2002). Lego sets and figures built, demolished and rebuilt 5 frames at a time.
3) Jean-François Coen - La Tour de Pise (1993). Gondry sub-titles the song using signs he filmed all over France. I can’t imagine how long this took to produce.
2) Chemical Brothers – Star Guitar (2003). Landscapes as viewed from a train perfectly translated into a musical score. Each visual element matches a sound in the track.
1) Cibo Matto – Sugar Water (1996). Incredible!
YouTube offers a sample of his genius, but to really enjoy his artistry I recommend the 2-DVD The Work of Michel Gondry. It contains 27 videos and shorts and a 75-minute interview that answers many of the “how did he do that” questions you will have as you watch. My thanks to Cathy for introducing me to this wonderful collection.
Bonus clips: Michel has also made visually interesting commercials for clients like Levi’s, Coke, Diet Coke, Nike, The Gap, and, my favorite spot, Air France