Initially, Michel Gondry didnt even want to hire animators. Go behind the scenes of the handmade animation Michel Gondry made with his brother Olivier Gondry for British band IDLES When you look at the lyrics, it looks a bit like a children’s book, each sentence finishing by ‘The Village. And it was funny because [in the film] it was just an observation I was making, and Noam said, “No, it’s wrong!” [Laughs] Because he wanted to tie it to the idea of psychic continuity. It is accentuated by all the headless kids we see in the story. I also find this in the way the song was written — all these repetitions. We want to hear from you! Gondry: Yes. You go from the idea to execution, straight from your brain. The filmmaker wrangled Chomsky for a series of interviews, which he then transformed into a bustling work of animation, meticulously hand-drawn by Gondry himself. I’ve been aware of that memory for a long time. Originally known for commercial and music videos, Michel Gondry directed ‘Drugstore’ for Levi’s, one of the most awarded commercial of all time. So it’s on film, and it’s something over which I had full control. Gondry: It’s very simple. Filmmaker: So there’s no computer enhancement whatsoever? Especially about creativity, and the sort of democratic aspect of creativity — the idea that creativity can be found in any type of person. According to Michel Gondry, the video was put together in a matter of weeks in his L.A. studio, where he painstakingly created characters and settings using hand-drawn designs on paper, cut them out and filmed them with his iPhone. you ask Chomsky about his earliest memory, and he mentions being forced to eat oatmeal. Click here to read our Fall 2020 issue, featuring this year’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Steven Soderbergh on. With Noam Chomsky, Michel Gondry, Richard Feynman, Michèle Oshima. In This Article: I’m aware of the retrospect of my work. Sometimes it happens with people who conduct interviews. Filmmaker: You’re very self-deprecating in the film, and there are parts where you express fears of looking stupid when speaking to Chomsky. Filmmaker: Can you discuss the actual technique that you used to achieve the actual look that you did? 13 November 2020 | Slash Film Michel Gondry to Direct ‘As She Climbed Across the Table’, a Love Triangle Involving a Black Hole. The Gondry brothers create paper-cut music video for Idles’ Model Village Michel created the paper village and its population, then filmed it on lightboxes before … However, Gondry’s treatment of “Fire on Babylon” casts the ballsy singer in a far different light. It was a way to keep it light. Paul McCartney Hints at 'Documentary Series Event' With Producer Rick Rubin, Taylor Swift Moved Her Album Release Date for Paul McCartney, ‘Kind of Blue’ Apron: Disney Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Teams Up With Blue Apron to Deliver Dinner and a Movie, An EMT Joined OnlyFans to Make Ends Meet. Liv Siddall speaks to the three of them about the creative, collaborative process of making this truly spectacular, WePresent produced animation. Filmmaker: In Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? This year, that dream came true, when Michel Gondry and his brother Olivier agreed to come together (virtually) in lockdown to make an animated video for the band’s new song, Model Village. Go out in nature and draw what you see. Since his 2004 breakthrough film Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Gondry has made nine entirely dissimilar features, among them a French surrealist comedy, a concert film in … This type of abstract animation is very intimate in that way. It’s not that I’m not aware of it. Gondry: Well, with The Science of Sleep, for instance, initially I wanted the dream world to be as realistic as real life, but since it was involving catastrophes and bigger and bigger events, we couldn’t fund it. The Gondry brothers’ lockdown project, a music video for UK rock band IDLES, finds Michel animating paper cutouts in his Los Angeles studio on his iPhone then sending the frames to Olivier in Paris for CG enhancement and post. “Shattered” would mean it all sort of exploded. And the paper is very thin, so, with the light coming through from underneath, you can use a picture like I used, printed out from my printer, and use the picture in negative. So it’s an honest point of view, but also, sometimes it’s just hard to follow him, and sometimes he was sort of dismissive. And so, to empathize with your adversaries and allow yourself to be naked on film or on record is a really strong thing to do. I didn’t know where the conversation would go, and how I would illustrate that, but the idea of abstraction was already in my mind. And I shot it all with my 16mm mechanical Bolex. Gondry: My earliest memory is much later than his. Dressed in a doll-like, floral print and bright, red sweater with brown hair grown out to almost pageboy length, O’Connor embraces the abused and fearful child that st… So if I wanted a finer result, I could switch back to positive, so the background would be positive and the drawing would be negative. Michel Gondry is a French director, screenwriter, and producer noted for his inventive visual style and distinctive manipulation of mise en scène. So I decided to use animation just to make it affordable. Gondry: Yes! And I use that a lot to justify my lack of knowledge. Filmmaker: I found it interesting that, in the film, you say that you approached this project as “a way to focus [your] often shattered creativity.” Can you elaborate on that a bit? And though he’s certainly made his mark on the world, I wanted to help add to it, and be a part of it. Then the ‘New York Post’ Shamed Her, Broadway Stars Release ‘Georgia on My Mind’ Video for Runoff Elections, Even in 2020, Ringo Starr Keeps the Peace, Love, and Music Going, Tame Impala Release Insect-Filled Animated Video for ‘Breathe Deeper’, The Voidz Drop Robotic New Track ‘Alien Crime Lord’. [Laughs] Maybe I used the wrong word. Filmmaker Michel Gondry animates a series of interviews with esteemed linguist, philosopher, commentator and activisit Noam Chomsky. I’d keep a certain [amount] of abstraction, so people can understand it all on their own levels. See more » So I thought it was funny [to include that humility], and I have an excuse, which is the fact that I’m not very skilled in English. That’s what I was trying to say. Gondry tells much about his own understanding in a way that illuminates Chomsky's views better than … Filmmaker: So, by “shattered,” perhaps you also mean “scattered?”. Gondry: Well it’s a principle of the documentary. Sign up for our newsletter. The song is accompanied by an animated music video directed by Michel Gondry (Daft Punk, Radiohead, The White Stripes) and Olivier Gondry, created in collaboration … [Laughs] To not die alone, basically. It’s very portable — a very simple setup. Gondry: Well I’d like to have a nice girlfriend before I cut it. And it doesn’t look like a James Cameron film because I don’t have the capacities to achieve that.”. He then sent the footage to his brother Olivier in Paris, who brought the collages to life using CGI. Notice the rounded edges and the uneven lines, which undermine the documentary-like realism of the scene. Were you extremely intimidated by him throughout this process? Following the recent theatrical release of Michel Gondry’s experimental philosophy-animation documentary “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” featuring an … Directed by Michel Gondry. Filmmaker: You’re only 50 years old, but is there something specific you want to make sure you do before you die? He wanted to do it himself with Eric Valin. Were you actively looking for a project that could fully employ your animation-like tendencies? © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. Through a series of interviews and conversations, the film brings us into the Chomsky’s ideals and theories, while revealing the life and work of the “father of modern linguistics”— shedding light on the mysteries of language and its emergance. And, of course, I was aware that it would give it a stronger texture and different style. But it’s not like I’m saying, “I’m going to do something whimsical!” It’s more like, “Okay, I’m going to do this idea. Whereas a lot of directors, when faced with a song, will go for something straight-forward and grounded; Michel Gondry pushes open the mind and weaves in these weird and wonderful visuals. I had a light box, and I used animation paper, and I drew with Sharpies, which are very bright and sort of diffuse into the paper. Michel and Olivier Gondry created the surreal cartoon clip for British punk band. Gondry we’ve known as an imaginative filmmaker behind features like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Be Kind Rewind (as well as music videos for artists like Beck, Kanye West, and the White Stripes), one driven to pursue a Continental whimsy tempered by a dedication to elaborate, difficult-looking hand craft and an apparent interest in American culture. Villagers are represented by cartoon pigs who act violently toward each other and waste away the day with meaningless activities. In a chat that reveals just how open Gondry’s own mind is (not to mention the thickness of his French accent, which he admits is part of a stealth defense tactic), this singular filmmaker talks about using primitive tools like a lightbox and a Bolex camera to craft a film that’s unlike any other this year, and that stands as a symbiotic account of unique brain cells working in tandem. But the whimsy that you’re talking about comes, sometimes, from making something affordable, or from being the best way to illustrate something I had in mind. The famed filmmakers used their talents and surrealist sensibilities to craft what a “model village” may look like and, in the process, satirize the “fishbowl mentality” within a small community. If I used computers, I’d have to have people help me, and then it’s not as personal. Filmmaker: So I’ll assume you’ve felt a kinship with Noam Chomsky for a long time, given the cerebral and philosophical nature of the work you’ve done. When I was not necessarily understanding everything he was saying exactly, I could just present it in abstraction. The clip was produced with WePresent, WeTransfer’s editorial platform. He thinks outside the box and comes up with stuff that evokes a child like response. 30 November 2020 | Indiewire Every Film Festival and Market Still Happening in 2020, in Person and Online. So it was sort of like post-production, but it was all before the shooting. A series of interviews featuring linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky done in hand-drawn animation. Filmmaker: I actually just returned from the Baja Film Festival in Los Cabos, where they screened The Science of Sleep as part of a tribute to Gael Garcia Bernal. He sees things different than most people, you can see this in any number of his shorts or films. By 1994, most music video viewers likely still pictured Sinéad O’Connor as either the raven damsel wandering the austere grounds of the “Nothing Compares 2 U” set or as the bald and brazen protester tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II on SNL. But what I was trying to say was just a basic concept. Animation, DOC NYC, Michel Gondry, Noam Chomsky Two highly unique minds converge in Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?, the latest from whimsical visionary Michel Gondry, who aptly subtitles his film, “An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky.” Send us a tip using our anonymous form. It was when I was three years old, at school. Gondry: Well, sometimes I’m excited to do several things at once. After directing his feature film ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, Michel Gondry kept surprising himself with extraordinary ideas and looks forward to bring his latest dream to life. Two highly unique minds converge in Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?, the latest from whimsical visionary Michel Gondry, who aptly subtitles his film, “An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky.” In the works for four years, this self-explanatory project from the artist behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dave Chapelle’s Block Party, and a veritable library of music videos is a charming and markedly low-tech doc that literally illustrates the insights of Chomsky, one of the greatest thinkers of our time. And then I would not betray anything that he was saying. The project took four years to complete, and Gondry often carried a small animation kit, including a portable light box, so he could work on the film when he was on the road. I think the most evident thing that comes from this animated conversation is … “Olivier and I were excited to work on this because we use completely opposite techniques,” Michel Gondry says. It didn’t quite translate the way you wanted it to with Chomsky, but I have an art background, and one of the key lessons I was taught was to draw what you see, not what you think you know. on Nov 21, 2013, Animation, DOC NYC, Michel Gondry, Noam Chomsky. Click here to read our Fall 2020 issue, featuring this year’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Steven Soderbergh on Let Them All Talk and more... by R. Kurt Osenlund in Directors, Filmmaking, Interviews “Model Village” will appear on Idles’ new album, Ultra Mono, out September 25th via Partisan. Filmmaker: You also mention in the film that your biggest motivator to complete it was being able to show it to Chomsky before he dies, given that he’s 84. Filmmaker: Yeah, I was going to ask you about the size of the light box, and if it was easily portable. Gondry: Yeah, I have a smaller one to travel with. Related News. Michel Gondry is an artist. Filmmaker: And did you make eye contact with the kid? '”, Talbot adds: “Michel’s work is handmade and it’s human and that’s something that our society pushes against: You need to be perfect. I did haver some ideas — the idea to illustrate to illustrate, and have abstract drawing, was already there. And I think that’s something we share — this idea that anyone has an interesting point of view and interesting things to say and share with the world, even if we don’t hear their voice. I remember looking back over the middle of the classroom, and trying to make eye contact with the only kid I knew from the year before. Gondry: Well, I was, but I also wanted to make sure these parts were entertaining. [Laughs] For instance, I would not have been so at ease with a French scientist, maybe. Idles have shared a new single, “Model Village,” with an animated music video directed by brothers Michel and Olivier Gondry. Gondry: Yes, and I was very lucky to have access to his brain for the time that I did. “I hated growing up in a city that was really a town that was really a fishbowl,” Idles frontman Joe Talbot says. But, actually, vulnerability and naivety are strengths. There’s a lot of humility there. When making the White Stripes' latest clip, director Michel Gondry found the hardest button to button wasn't the stop-motion animation, securing a … The second scene of Michel Gondry and Noam Chomsky appearing in filmed footage with no animation. Filmmaker: Well, piggybacking on the idea of dropping preconceptions and drawing what you see, this film was a very organic process. I was not saying something that could be right or wrong, it was just an observation. Gondry: Maybe! Animating Noam Chomsky: French Director Michel Gondry on New Film “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” That’s what I’ve always liked about animation, particularly abstract animation. To be vulnerable and to be naive is to have empathy. Want more Rolling Stone? Olivier then transforms it by morphing, warping and CGI…Basically, in the first part we try to illustrate the lyrics as close as possible, to create the world, and then in the second half…they go to the moon.”, For Olivier Gondry, the cutout paper animation “adds a childlike look to it, a child’s point of view looking at his own town. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as one of the writers of the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a film he also directed. That’s something that I hope that Idles can do and that Gondry’s been doing for years.”. A wonderful form of animation that shows aspects of Chomsky beyond his political stances. The director posted a short video on YouTube in 2006 titled simply "Michel Gondry Solves a Rubik's Cube With His Feet" in which he solved the famous puzzle with his toes. 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