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The Director’s Chair: Michel Gondry

Seasoned French director Michel Gondry is one of the notable few who have made the successful transition from directing music videos to feature films.

Photo via WIRED

Gondry was born in Versailles on May 8, 1963. His filmography boasts of works not only in film and music videos, but also in documentary, advertising, and television. Among all these, Gondry produced the most output through music videos at more than 80.

“Fell in Love with a Girl” by The White Stripes. Video via YouTube
“Human Behavior” by Björk. Video via YouTube

His first few music videos were for his former rock band Oui Oui. Gondry’s experimental technique of making videos eventually caught the attention of popular artists who eventually commissioned him to do work for them. His clients include Björk, The Rolling Stones, Cibo Matto, Daft Punk, The White Stripes, Radiohead, and even mainstream acts like Kanye West and Sheryl Crow.

Gondry has also directed more TV commercials than film. An advertisement he created for the brand Levi’s 501 Jeans in 1994, “Drugstore”, holds the distinction of having the “most awards won by a TV commercial,” according to the Guinness World Records 2004. Other brands that he had made commercials for include Volvo, Air France, Motorola, Nike, GAP, Fiat, Coca-Cola, and BMW.

Movie still from “The Science of Sleep” via IMDB

Since 1986, Gondry has already directed a combined total of about 25 feature, short, and documentary films. Today, many know him for his feature films, particularly “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) and “The Science of Sleep” (2006). In 2011, he was tapped to direct the Hollywood action comedy superhero film, “The Green Hornet”.

Aside from these, Gondry has also directed twice for TV shows, namely “Flight of the Concord”’s 17th episode (“Unnatural Love," 2009), and an episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live! “ (2011).

“Haircut Mouse.” Video via Vimeo

Also in 2011, Gondry was the head of the jury for that year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. In 2012, his feature film “The We and the I” was screened in the same festival’s Director’s Fortnight section. Meanwhile, this year saw the release of his latest film “Mood Indigo”, animated short “Haircut Mouse”, and documentary “Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky”.

Gondry’s filmmaking techniques are well-known in the industry. His music videos are typically eccentric yet creative. When it comes to films, he is famed for his “inventive visual style” and “manipulation of the mise en scéne,” or the arrangement of performers and scenery in a particular scene.

All information in this article were sourced from Wikipedia and Variety.

Like this article? Check out our articles from the The Director’s Chair and the Friday Movie Flashback series in the Lomography magazine!

written by chooolss

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: 日本語.