Before Michel Gondry made perplexing and underwhelming feature films like The Green Hornet and The Science of Sleep, he made perplexing and almost universally amazing music videos. With The Green Hornet coming out on DVD today, we figured it was a good time to remind ourselves of just how brilliant Gondry’s work on the musical side of things was –- and, indeed, continues to be. Watch ten of our favorite Gondry music videos, both well-known masterpieces and overlooked gems, after the jump.
Chemical Brothers – “Star Guitar” (2002)
This is our all-time Gondry favorite, for one simple reason: its subtlety. The problem with Gondry’s films is that they can be visually and conceptually overwhelming –- the mind-bending nature of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind worked because of Charlie Kaufman’s fantastic script, but The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind were less endearingly idiosyncratic and more flat-out confusing. It’s notable, then, that his best videos are built around very simple concepts, albeit ones that can take a while to grasp. “Star Guitar” is perhaps the best example –- the first time you see it, you wonder what’s going on. It’s just looking out the window of a train, isn’t it? But then you notice that those pylons are going by at regular intervals. Just when the snare hits, in fact. And those huts — they’re corresponding to the kickdrum. In fact, what you’re doing is gliding through a visual representation of the MIDI patterns that make up the song. It’s a simple concept, once you work it out, but as an idea, it’s a stroke of directorial genius, and it’s executed to perfection.