Tonight Michel Gondry's coming to Family Books on Fairfax to sign copies of his new book/DVD My New New York Diary, a collaborative project with cartoonist Julie Doucet that merges autobiographical illustrations and cinematic storytelling. My New New York Diary is a hardcover volume from PictureBox that includes a DVD of the film itself, and all of Doucet's drawings for the film. In anticipation of Gondry's new release, here are ten music videos showcasing his fantastic imagination and technical genius.
Björk "Army of Me"
Björk discovered Gondry and asked him to direct a video for her song "Human Behaviour," which ended up sparking a long-term collaboration between the two. Of the seven videos he's directed for her, "Army of Me" is probably the creepiest: a cyberpunk nightmare in which Björk drives a massive tanker truck with teeth for an engine. Gondry even sends Björk to a gorilla dentist who pulls a diamond out of her mouth. Terrifying!
Oui Oui "Les Callioux"
This animation is obscenely cute and this song is ridiculously catchy. Gondry used to be the drummer for this French rock band, and it was the videos he made for them that got him noticed by Bjork. Four adorable but expressionless friends head out on an adventure together in which they're chased down a hill by a giant boulder, skip rocks into the ocean and watch them magically transform into sailboats, and then throw rocks into a building that shrinks into the ground.
The White Stripes "Fell in Love with a Girl"
The video for "Fell in Love with a Girl" is a psychedelic masterpiece made completely of LEGOs. I have no idea how Gondry had the patience to construct and animate each and every frame of this video, but his genius is his creative and meticulous use of unusual materials.
Daft Punk "Around the World"
"Around the World" is a surreal and tightly choreographed dance of skeletons, robots, athletes, synchronized swimmers, and mummies--all around a giant record. Daft Punk's thumping beats, the freaky costumes, and Gondry's constantly-evolving lightshow make this video feel like a four-minute-long acid trip.
Radiohead "Knives Out"
Gondry has called this video for "Knives Out" autobiographical--a reconstruction of his memories of his ex-girlfriend. This is the height of Gondry's surrealism: a woman is encased in her hospital bed in an operating room as a crowd of doctors tower over her and pick out her organs like in the game Operation, ending with Thom Yorke turning into a skeleton with a giant heart for a head.