Michel Gondry’s happy accidents Matt 14 Sep 2006

18 comments Latest by Mike Harris

Five videos by director Michel Gondry:

Kylie Minogue: Come Into My World
“Minogue strolling around a city block within the Boulogne suburb of Paris, France. Each time she completes a circuit of the area, a new Minogue emerges from one of the stores (which is in fact the ‘old’ minogue, that did the circuit the first time around), and each of the people in the background are also duplicated. By the time the video concludes there are four Minogues and each background extra is also depicted four times.”

Daft Punk: Around the World
“This is meant to be a visual representation of the song; each element in the video represents a different instrument: the robots represent the talk box ‘robot voice’, the athletes move in time to the ascending-descending bass guitar, the disco girls represent the high-pitched keyboard, the skeletons move to the guitars, and the mummies represent the drum machine.”

White Stripes: Fell In Love With A Girl
“The video is shot frame by frame with each frame having the Lego bricks rebuilt, sometimes in a complex manner to seem as if it was an actual shot, and then formed together to give the illusion of motion. The video is considered to be one of the most complex videos using Lego bricks ever made.”

Chemical Brothers: Star Guitar
“Features a continuous journey seen from a train window in which the disposition of each passing element of the landscape is positioned in sync with the music. The video is based on DV footage Gondry shot while on vacation in France. They shot the train ride 10 different times during the day to get different light gradients.”

White Stripes: Hardest Button To Button
“The video features them playing, but the drums and amplifier keep multiplying, taking them around a city. The video was made using pixellation animation: for example, Meg would do one drum beat, the camera would stop, the drum kit would be removed from the line and Meg would get on to the next kit, and make another drum beat, and so on.”

Stylus Magazine’s Top 100 Music Videos of All Time

Michel Gondry interview [SuicideGirls.com]: “The less you plan, the more you get. Science of Sleep is a complicated story with a lot of characters and sets. I wanted to leave room for randomness and happy accidents.”

10 Questions for Francis Ford Coppola: “Q: What percentage of your films is the product of happy accidents? A: Art is partly being available to accidents that fall into your lap. The ideal way to work on a project is to ask a question you don’t know the answer to.”

18 comments so far (Jump to latest)

adam 15 Sep 06

I love that star guitar video.
I wonder if he got the idea just looking out from the train one day.

Matt 15 Sep 06

I saw Science of Sleep at Sundance last year and was blown away. See it at any cost!

Claus 15 Sep 06

The DVD is great - even if the interview part is only semi-interesting. Gondry’s tendency to work as an inventor of sorts while directing videos is inspiring. Lots of play (and playfulness) involved.

Sidenote on the Lego video: As fas as I recall from the DVD, it’s actually mostly a computer animation of Lego, because you basically have to tear down the entire image for each minute change. Only a little bit of the video was done like that.

Patrick 15 Sep 06

Michel’s Director’s Label DVD is by far the best in the series- he has an attention to detail and love for his work that’s truly inspiring.

Claus- it’s almost entirely hand-animated, except for one or two shots (the closeup of Meg’s face) that were digitized from the original source video.

I love how he’s able to adapt his production style to perfectly fit the aesthetics of his client. His White Stripes videos all done with ‘analog’ techniques such as stop-motion, rear-projection distorted lenses, and electro-pop such as the Chemical Brothers and Kylie Minogue are treated to smooth CG effects and digital compositing. Can’t wait to see the Science of Sleep!

Josh Teague 15 Sep 06

The thing that makes his work so great is the handful of visual themes he emplores in his videos. It’s amazing how much he gets out of the art fundamentals of repetition and scale. Simple concepts, but painstaking in process.

Dean 16 Sep 06

Serendipity is the word you’re looking for.

Kelsey Brookes 16 Sep 06

Every single one of those was part of the required watching material for a film course I created and taught until recently.

Good to see others appreciate them as much as I did!

Torley Linden 17 Sep 06

You could base whole empires around M. Gondry’s videos! Like Josh said, and how Michael takes visual aesthetics to the fullest, really exposing everything you can do. I love how he has such a knack for syncing visuals to audio too. It’s not quite in the microediting league of Chris Cunningham, but that only actually makes me wonder why I haven’t seen a collab from the two yet.

Benny 17 Sep 06

My favourite Gondry video is this one, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_q6kpNWjJc.

Good song too.

chris rhee 18 Sep 06

Nice! Thanks for this post. My friend, who is going to film school, told me about that Chemical Brothers video and I’m glad I finally got to check it out. I’m really digging the other videos by Michael Gondry, too. It’s refreshing to see these, considering how most other music videos are boring and uncreative.

chris rhee 18 Sep 06

Interesting timing! Last night’s Simpsons episode parodied The Hardest Button To Button music video, with Bart playing the drums (and he eventually crashes into White Stripes).

Julian 18 Sep 06

Starguitar is the cleverest short video I’ve seen… took me a while to realise what was going on!

rose park 21 Sep 06

Michel Gondry is the enfant terible of pop video culture, intertwining art and commerce to create a whole new perspective and commentary on modern times.

Mike Harris 23 Sep 06

Not to go low brow, but the last of the videos was parodied on The Simpsons recently …