Michel GondryLauded French Filmmaker and Video Director
Playful Gallic auteur with a love of lo-fi visual effects.
Most filmmakers can't say that they've played percussion for Kanye West, but, then again, most filmmakers aren't Michel Gondry, a wiry French writer/director renowned for his offbeat narratives and whimsical visual style. Gondry started out as the drummer for the Gallic rock band Oui Oui, and began helming the group's promotional clips, eventually directing inventive videos for a variety of high-profile acts, most notably Björk (who is eaten by a bear in "Human Behaviour") and The White Stripes (famously depicted as Legos in "Fell in Love with a Girl"). In 2001, Gondry unveiled his first feature, Human Nature, an overlooked and unabashedly odd film penned by Charlie Kaufman. The next Gondry/Kaufman collaboration, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, fared considerably better, winning accolades as a thoughtful and engaging meditation on love and memory, and even snagging an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Following up with the concert documentary Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Gondry later showcased his unfiltered imagination with the handcrafted quirkiness of The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind, both with interesting, if mixed, results. After The Thorn in the Heart, a low-key film about his extended family, Gondry surprised fans by taking on a Hollywood blockbuster with the superhero caper, The Green Hornet, kicking open a new chapter of his unpredictable career.