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

Life and career

Gondry was born in Versailles, France. He is the grandson of Constant Martin. He has a teenage son named Paul who is also an artist.

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 seven 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, Steriogram, Radiohead, and Beck. Gondry has also created numerous television commercials. He pioneered the "bullet time" technique later adapted in The Matrix, in a 1998 commercial for Smirnoff vodka, as well as directing a trio of inventive holiday-themed advertisements for clothing retailer Gap, Incorporated.

Gondry, along with directors Spike Jonze and David Fincher, is 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 very favorable reviews, becoming one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. 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 screenplay 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-Stuyvesantmarker neighborhood of Brooklynmarker. 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.

According to the Guinness World Records 2004, Michel Gondry's Levi's 501 Jeans "Drugstore" spot holds the record for "Most awards won by a TV commercial". The commercial was never aired in North America because of the suggestive content involving purchasing latex condoms.

In September 2006, Gondry made his debut as an installation artist at Deitch Projects in New York Citymarker's SoHomarker gallery district. The show, called "The Science of Sleep: An Exhibition of Sculpture and Pathological Creepy Little Gifts" featured props from his film, The Science of Sleep, as well as film clips and a selection of gifts that the artist had given to women he was interested in, many of them former or current collaborators, Karen Baird, Kishu Chand, Dorothy Barrick and Lauri Faggioni. A leitmotif of the film is a 'Disastrology' calendar; Gondry commissioned the painter Baptiste Ibar to draw harrowing images of natural and human disasters.

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. He was asked by French comic duet Eric and Ramzy to direct Steak, but declined; the film was subsequently directed by Mr Oizo.

Gondry was an Artist in Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker in 2005 and 2006. Later directing the music video for the Paul McCartney song "Dance Tonight", in which Gondry makes a cameo appearance. His most recent work was the directing of "Unnatural Love," the fifth episode in season two of HBO's Flight of the Conchords .

He is currently slated to direct Seth Rogen in the motion picture adaptation The Green Hornet.


Feature films

Short films

  • L'expedition fatale (1986)
  • Jazzmosphère (1987)
  • My Brother's 24th Birthday (1988)
  • La lettre (1998)
    • The Letter
  • One Day...' (2001)
  • Pecan Pie (2003)
  • Ossamuch! - Kishu & Co. (2004)
  • Tiny (2004)
  • Three Dead People (2004)
  • Drumb and Drumber (2004)
  • Michel Gondry Solves a Rubik's Cube with his Nose (2007)
  • Tôkyô!: Interior Design (2008)

Documentary films

Music videos




  1. Dream Factory - artnet Magazine
  2. Baptiste Ibar
  3. Method Studios - Olivier Gondry
  5. Memory Almost Full EPK YouTube. Retrieved on October 24, 2007.
  6. Michel Gondry Directs Flight of the Conchords Episode Flicks News. Retrieved on February 16, 2009.
  7. IMDb
  8. Michel Gondry
  9. [1]

External links

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