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Michel Gondry

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Biography

Michel Gondry, born May 8, 1963, is a French Academy Award winning screenwriter, film, commercial and music video director. He is noted for his inventive visual style and manipulation of mise en scène.

Michel Gondry was born in Versailles, France. His career as a filmmaker began with creating music videos for the French rock band Oui Oui, in which he also served as a drummer. The style of his videos for Oui Oui caught the attention of music artist Björk, who asked him to direct the video for her song "Human Behaviour". The collaboration proved long-lasting, with Gondry directing a total of six music videos for Björk. Other artists who have collaborated with Gondry on more than one occasion include Daft Punk, The White Stripes, The Chemical Brothers, The Vines and Beck. Gondry has also created numerous television commercials. He pioneered the "bullet time" technique later adapted in The Matrix, notably in his "Like a Rolling Stone" video for the Rolling Stones and a 1998 commercial for Smirnoff vodka, as well as directing a trio of inventive holiday-themed advertisements for GAP.

Gondry is often cited, along with directors Spike Jonze, David Fincher, and Marcus Nispel, as representative of the influx of music video directors into feature film. Gondry made his feature film debut in 2001 with Human Nature, garnering mixed reviews. His second film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (also his second collaboration with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman), was released in 2004 and received many rave reviews. Eternal Sunshine utilizes many of the image manipulation techniques that Gondry had experimented with in his music videos. Gondry won an Academy Award alongside Kaufman and Pierre Bismuth for the story of Eternal Sunshine. The style of Gondry's music videos often relies on videography and camera tricks which play with frames of reference.

Gondry also directed the musical documentary Dave Chappelle's Block Party (2006) which followed comedian Dave Chappelle as he attempted to hold a large, free concert in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. His following film, The Science of Sleep, hit theaters in September, 2006. This film stars Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, and marked a return to the fantastical, surreal techniques he employed in Eternal Sunshine.

2004 edition of the Guinness Book of Records, page 177 lists Michel Gondry's Levi "Drugstore" as "Most awards won by a TV commercial".

His brother Olivier 'Twist' Gondry is also a television commercial and music video director creating videos for bands such as The Stills, Hot Hot Heat and The Vines (see ).



 


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