6 months in, the latest director to get the [the films of] treatment is Michel Gondry. An obvious choice, seeing as the series is all about diversity and originality, qualities that perfect this filmmaker’s palette. This Behind [the films of] post explores how I tried to compress Gondry’s films to under 3 minutes.
Here’s a great quote from Michel Gondry:
Childhood occupies the biggest part of your brain, so a lot of my memories onsciously (and consciously) enter the videos I do.
The first thing anyone will notice from a Gondry film is the playfulness. His films are filled with home-crafted materials and visual tricks. You could almost say he makes films for ‘the child in you’, and that’s exactly what makes his films a delight to watch. I chose to open the video with the playful notes from Grizzly Bear’s Two Weeks, along with this kid from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind playing in the rain.
I actually didn’t do this little quirk on purpose. I put the clip on the timeline and this little red light ignited in perfect sync with the music. It was such a great moment, I wish I did come up with it myself.
But we erased that.
This is where the magic of editing hands a helping hand. In the film, Jack Black says this line while behind a group of people. Obviously that’s not a great shot, because you want to make it last for about 2 seconds max and you don’t want the viewer to have to look for the person saying the line. In the trailer for Be Kind Rewind, they solved this by showing this shot of Jack Black, who is conveniently in a pose that really suits the line. I always thought that moment was more hilarious in the trailer than it was in the film, so I copied it here.
First Green Hornet shot here. I actually enjoyed this film, I thought it was very refreshing to have a superhero film and a buddy comedy in one, I’d never seen anything like it. I think the big mistake is to go in expecting something like the trailer was advertising. It’s definitely not Gondry’s finest work, but I disagree with people who say it’s a bad film. Unfortunately it doesn’t harmonize with a lot of other shots, apart from the very few I used here. It was really hard looking for these little bits that would work.
I butchered Two Weeks a lot, but fortunately the song is so strong it can handle almost any cut you throw at it, and it even sounds really cool. That’s when you know you have a good track, if you can mess with it and it still sounds awesome.
This is where Killer Crane by TV on the Radio kicks in. It’s from their new album Nine Types of Light (which you should definitely give a listen). There’s a very subtle, warm flow through the entire song, which really builds up to the ‘dreaminess’ of the third part.
I think The Science of Sleep is Gondry’s best work, so it gets a little segment of it’s own here.
How happy is the blameless Vestal’s lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.
This quote from Alexander Pope (used in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is an intro to the third segment of the video, which is set to an acoustic version of Sleepyhead by Passion Pit. The third segment is an ode to dreamers, including mister Gondry and some of his characters (such as Stephane).
I needed a smooth transition to this shot, because the previous shot has a lot of light and conveniently also a lens flare, so I could use the light coming from the projector to make the transition smoother.
This is a great font called Impact Label. I used a white color because black kind of disappeared in the shots and I did want the titles to be more prominent.
This is one of my favorite shots ever, so simple and powerful, which is why it’s the very last shot.
Like with every episode of [the films of], I have a very good reason for choosing the next director. The line-up so far has been pretty impressive, but there hasn’t been a filmmaker like Gondry. [the films of] is all about great filmmakers doing their thing, but it also has a collective goal: showing the minds that shape film as we know it today. That goal is also the reason there are only active directors in the series.
In the series as a unit, Gondry represents European cinema and the impact it has had through the years. I felt it was really important to have a really distinctive director from Europe, one you wouldn’t find anywhere else, and Michel Gondry is exactly that.
And to think we’re halfway already! Only 6 more [the films of]’s to go, and wow, what a load of amazing filmmakers lined up for the rest of the year. Next month’s episode hits July 29th, and it is certainly going to be the favorite for many of you. Here’s a hint: lamp.
Keep an eye out for some exciting announcements on my Tumblr next month!