I became aware of Michel Gondry around 1994 when I became obsessed with the video for "Lucas with the Lid Off." It's single-take, in-camera effects blew my mind and I then found out Gondry was the director of Bjork's "Human Behavior." Then I became obsessed with Gondry's work in general. I actually saw Human Nature in the theater! (Not that good.) It wasn't until getting his volume of the Director's Label DVD series back in 2003 that I knew he played drums in Oui Oui, a band he started with Etienne Charry that existed from 1983 – 1992. I'm not sure that Gondry had a whole lot to do with the band's sound (cute, catchy Franco-pop) but it was the music videos he made for the group that made them stand out — and gave him a career after Oui Oui broke up.
The group released two albums, both of which fell out of print soon after their release and have remained that way. A bit surprising, given Gondry's success. Neither are Lost Masterpieces but if you have a fondness for jazzy chords, whistling, cheery melodies and the French language, they're worth seeking out. Here are a few MP3s:
MP3: Les Cailloux
MP3: Ma Maison (different version than is used in the video)
MP3: La Ville
Lots of other Michel Gondry news. His second DVD collection of music videos, short films, etc is now available through his website. In addition to videos made after the first collection (like Steriogram's "Walkie Talkie Man") it includes some of Gondry's work that was left off the first time, like The Black Crowes' "High Head Blues," Radiohead's "Knives Out" and Donald Fagen's "Snowbound." It's also got some of Gondry's viral videos, like the one where he solves a Rubiks Cube with his feet. Also available through his website: If you email Gondry a picture of yourself, he'll personally draw a sketch of you based on it. For $19.95 which seems pretty reasonable to me. He's also got toilet paper, comics, callendars and other quirky, creative stuff.
On the feature front, Gondry is one of three directors behind Tokyo! The Movie, described as "an omnibus triptych examining the nature of one unforgettable city as it's shaped by the disparate people who live, work (and even run amok!) inside one enormous, constantly evolving, densely populated Japanese megalopolis – the ravishing and inimitable Tokyo." It's currently in limited release in the U.S., including the Sunshine Theatre here in NYC. His next major film is directing Seth Rogen in comic book flick The Green Hornet.
Some Oui Oui and other Gondry-related videos after the jump.
Oui Oui – Les Cailloux
Oui Oui – Les Villes
Tokyo! The Movie
Lucas – Lucas With the Lid Off
Michael Andrews / Gary Jules – Mad World