I don’t remember the day I first saw music video for "Around the World" by Daft Punk, but I do know that it was the beginning of a torrid love affair with acclaimed director Michel Gondry. At the time, I didn’t know who the director was, but I would watch the video for hours, trying to memorize each component. The video shows mummies, robots, skeletons, and synchronized swimmers all dancing around a stage built to look like an LP. It wasn’t until I checked out a series of DVDs called Directors Label that I discovered the genius behind Gondry’s directorial skill. Basically a collection of music videos, advertisements, and short films, The Work of Director Michel Gondry highlights some of the best and most imaginative creativity I’ve ever seen. Some excellent commentary in the director’s thick French accent gives you a tiny glimpse into his crazy little mind.
It only makes sense that given a bigger budget Gondry’s feature films are that much more brilliant. One of my favorites is Be Kind Rewind. Starring Jack Black, Danny Glover, and a surprisingly talented Mos Def, this film was filmed and takes place in Passaic, New Jersey. A video store owner faces eviction if he doesn’t retool his business. After a freak accident erases all the videotapes, the store must recreate every movie using people and props from the local neighborhood. The new business booms until a fast-talking lawyer tries to shut the entire operation down. Will the community rally to save their local video store?
It’ll be interesting to see what Gondry comes up with on his next project. He’s currently filming The Green Hornet, a superhero movie based on the radio and character of the same name.