Thursday, August 30, 2012

Director Profile: Michel Gondry (THE WE AND THE I)

We were puzzling over the very best way to introduce our Director Profile of Michel Gondry (the dude spying on you--yes, you--in the above photography) and we were at a lack for words. This inventive director needed a likewise introduction. Something spectacular. Something punchy. Something that sums up the question, "Who is Michel Gondry? No, really." Ahem:

"Who is Michel Gondry?" Well, for starters, he is a man who can solve a Rubik's cube with his nose. Why solve 3-D mechanical puzzles with your hands when you can use your nasal cavity, is what we always say. When Gondry isn't busy being the obvious hit at parties, he makes fantastical, awesome films. Not with his nasal cavity. (We think?)

Gondry started off his career in the world of music videos. He's frolicked around in the woods with Bjork and a giant stuffed bear, changed things with Sheryl Crow, turned the White Stripes into building blocks, cloned Kylie Minoque, and danced with Flight of the Conchords--just to name a few. Gondry's unique and inventive storytelling style and camera techniques also led to his success in directing commercials. Remember that Gap holiday commercial that you maybe--okay, definitely--hated by the end of the holiday season? Gondry also directed commercials for Smirnoff, Air France, Polaroid, and Levi's.

In 2001, Gondry made his feature film directorial debut with Human Nature, a comedy written by Charlie Kaufman. The film explores topics like sex, human nature, and a very hairy and naked Patricia Arquette. Roger Ebert applauded the film's "screwball charm" and "manic whimsy".

2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ("Hi, Joel. No jokes about my name.") is probably Gondry's most popular film to date. Gondry teamed up again with Kaufman and the film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The film presented the fascinating question of: if you could erase someone from your mind, would you? Or, rather: can you? And people have been flocking to Montauk Beach in February ever since.

Artist rendition of Gondry performing his nasal cavity hijinks at a fancy-pants soiree.
Gondry followed up with The Science of Sleep in 2006, which he also wrote. A fantastical seemingly sideways-moving story that the New York Times said, "is so profoundly idiosyncratic, and so confident in its oddity, that any attempt to describe it is bound to be misleading."

Be Kind Rewind (2008), Gondry's fourth feature film is an underrated comedy about your typical magnetized dude who accidentally erases all the tapes in a video store (don't you just hate when that happens?), and hilarity--Gondry style--ensues. (If you're under the age of 12, you might not know what a "video cassette" or "VHS" is and for that we are truly sorry. We also feel old.) Not only is the film hilarious, but it also introduced us all to the concept of "Sweded" films. Huzzah.

Gondry is back at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival with The We and the I. If you've ever wanted to know what a busload of Bronx teenagers would look like through the eyes of Michel Gondry, then this is the film for you. Because that is what it is about. Early reviews from Cannes are positive, with the Hollywood Reporter saying, "…the film has a scrappy charm that springs organically from the characters and their stories." If only Gondry could have directed all of our high school bus rides home, right?

Below is the trailer and screening times for The We and the I.

THE WE AND THE I Screening Times:
Fri., Sept. 7th, 6:45 PM SCOTIABANK 1
Sat., Sept. 8th, 11:45 AM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 6
Sat., Sept. 15th, 3:00 PM SCOTIABANK 1

1 comment:

  1. i will love that picture of the fancy pants soiree forever.