Monday, 9 March 2009

Going Gondry

Working at Standaard Boekhandel means that I can borrow as many dvd's whenever I want, a privilege I try to take advantage of as much as possible. Last night we watched Michel Gondry's Be kind Rewind, a movie that disappeared from Belgian theatres after just one week. The reason for my borrowing this fairly unknown 2008 Sundance favorite was my poodle's endearing adoration for Jack Black and the fact that Gondry's work really fascinates me.

His most famous work to date is the exceptional Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which wasn't just visually innovative but also had a damn good story thanks to the wonderful Charlie Kaufman. Now one of the characteristics of a Gondry film is the way he literally constructs sets within his set meaning characters often dream or in this case really are being filmed / watched which brings voyeurism to a whole new level.

This was also the case in Be Kind Rewind, a reference to VHS's hayday. Jack Black became magnetized while trying to sabotage a power plant and accidently erases all the movies in the good old-fashioned video store that the squeecky voiced Mos Def is working in which results in them making unique and contemporary recreations of the classics.

Once again, Gondry has a great idea and a visually satisfying approach in creating this mosaic of movie clips but alas storywise there's still a lot of work to be done and that's why I now refer you to exhibit B: The Science of Sleep, a previous writing attempt that had great potential but no clue what to do with it. Visually, Gondry really knows his stuff and has a deliciously fresh approach but narritively he needs Kaufman, desperately, if he wants to stay spotless that is.

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