You need to look perfect and everything needs to be seamless and strong. However, Gondry’s treatment of “Fire on Babylon” casts the ballsy singer in a far different light. 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 … You go from the idea to execution, straight from your brain. I did haver some ideas — the idea to illustrate to illustrate, and have abstract drawing, was already there. 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. Liv Siddall speaks to the three of them about the creative, collaborative process of making this truly spectacular, WePresent produced animation. Send us a tip using our anonymous form. 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. Notice the rounded edges and the uneven lines, which undermine the documentary-like realism of the scene. It was when I was three years old, at school. 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. 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. 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. Filmmaker: You’re very self-deprecating in the film, and there are parts where you express fears of looking stupid when speaking to Chomsky. 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. The song’s video incorporates a mix of 2D and 3D animation, involving collages of characters and shapes drawn and cut by Michel Gondry and brought to life through CGI from Olivier. 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. Following the recent theatrical release of Michel Gondry’s experimental philosophy-animation documentary “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” featuring an … 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. Gondry creates an innovative documentary about the philosopher, linguist, and anti-war activist Noam Chomsky. The clip was produced with WePresent, WeTransfer’s editorial platform. And I’m still hoping I will do another one that’s fully animated, and more fictional. Gondry: Well, I was, but I also wanted to make sure these parts were entertaining. How you created these animations? It is accentuated by all the headless kids we see in the story. So it was sort of like post-production, but it was all before the shooting. 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. Were you actively looking for a project that could fully employ your animation-like tendencies? Gondry: Well I’d like to have a nice girlfriend before I cut it. If I used computers, I’d have to have people help me, and then it’s not as personal. So it was sort of self-deprecating, but I know that most people would feel this same way. It’s the same setup you have when you’re an animator, only I had to put the camera on the top. 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… Filmmaker: You’re only 50 years old, but is there something specific you want to make sure you do before you die? Gondry: My earliest memory is much later than his. 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. Michel Gondry is an artist. It’s a setup I can put in a very small room, or even in my closet in Los Angeles, and I can do it everywhere I go — in New York, Paris. Michel and Olivier Gondry created the surreal cartoon clip for British punk band. Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? 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. He sees things different than most people, you can see this in any number of his shorts or films. 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. People were telling me to draw from nature, not from photos, or illustrations, or your imagination. 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. world premieres tonight at the School of Visual Arts Theater as the closing-night of DOC NYC. I love that people have their own levels of understanding. Finally, I'm not really sure what to make of Herve Di Rosa's "Viva De Rosa" (3:51), a bizarre French-language animation that Gondry directed. Sometimes it happens with people who conduct interviews. I also find this in the way the song was written — all these repetitions. Filmmaker: In Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? Gondry: Yes, and I was very lucky to have access to his brain for the time that I did. So it was very important for me to start this project with no specific result in mind. 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. © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. 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. When you’re a kid, you have a filtered approach to the world. Filmmaker: Yeah, I was going to ask you about the size of the light box, and if it was easily portable. Filmmaker: Well, piggybacking on the idea of dropping preconceptions and drawing what you see, this film was a very organic process. It is accentuated by all the headless kids we see in the story. Gondry: Maybe! 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’s not that I’m not aware of it. And I shot it all with my 16mm mechanical Bolex. 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. Villagers are represented by cartoon pigs who act violently toward each other and waste away the day with meaningless activities. [Laughs] For instance, I would not have been so at ease with a French scientist, maybe. '”, 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. A wonderful form of animation that shows aspects of Chomsky beyond his political stances. “I left as soon as I could, only to realize the fishbowl didn’t exist…just the fish, and they’re everywhere.”. They want you to tell them what they want to hear, so they’re going to force you, and corner you, and bend you on purpose. It’s very portable — a very simple setup. Click here to read our Fall 2020 issue, featuring this year’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Steven Soderbergh on. Filmmaker: So there’s no computer enhancement whatsoever? A series of interviews featuring linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky done in hand-drawn animation. 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. I’d keep a certain [amount] of abstraction, so people can understand it all on their own levels. 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. Filmmaker: So, by “shattered,” perhaps you also mean “scattered?”. And, of course, I was aware that it would give it a stronger texture and different style. Idles have shared a new single, “Model Village,” with an animated music video directed by brothers Michel and Olivier Gondry. 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 And the expression I want to make here doesn’t translate well into English, but I’ll say that it felt good to find a project that would take me over the course of four years, with one strong [focus]. Filmmaker: And did you make eye contact with the kid? “Model Village” will appear on Idles’ new album, Ultra Mono, out September 25th via Partisan. That’s what I was trying to say. So I decided to use animation just to make it affordable. I’ve been aware of that memory for a long time. Gondry: I had this advice, too, when I was learning how to draw. Originally known for commercial and music videos, Michel Gondry directed ‘Drugstore’ for Levi’s, one of the most awarded commercial of all time. I think if you go out to do interviews with the answer in mind, you’re going to bias the whole process. Go out in nature and draw what you see. I’m aware of the retrospect of my work. But, actually, vulnerability and naivety are strengths. I think the most evident thing that comes from this animated conversation is … So it’s on film, and it’s something over which I had full control. So I could continue the work wherever I was. 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. 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. When making the White Stripes' latest clip, director Michel Gondry found the hardest button to button wasn't the stop-motion animation, securing a … 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? Gondry: Yes! 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 … Want more Rolling Stone? It’s like a scanner of the brain and thought process that you can watch, or hear. Filmmaker Michel Gondry animates a series of interviews with esteemed linguist, philosopher, commentator and activisit Noam Chomsky. “Olivier and I were excited to work on this because we use completely opposite techniques,” Michel Gondry says. 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’. 13 November 2020 | Slash Film Michel Gondry to Direct ‘As She Climbed Across the Table’, a Love Triangle Involving a Black Hole. Were you extremely intimidated by him throughout this process? And it doesn’t look like a James Cameron film because I don’t have the capacities to achieve that.”. Ever-fascinated by the depths of the human brain, and ever-faithful in dressing his films with cartoon-like touches, Gondry presents a curio of a movie that’s unquestionably in his wheelhouse, and that, as the director hopes, may well become a notable piece of Chomsky’s legacy. That’s something that I hope that Idles can do and that Gondry’s been doing for years.”. 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. What’s your earliest memory? 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.” Related News. 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. I could do some of the animation on a small light box that I could carry with me. 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. 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 it’s a principle of the documentary. Obviously, you didn’t know what was going to come of your interview with Chomsky, so in terms of the art, you needed to just create with whatever surprises you gleaned from the conversation. He wanted to do it himself with Eric Valin. With Noam Chomsky, Michel Gondry, Richard Feynman, Michèle Oshima. 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. We want to hear from you! 30 November 2020 | Indiewire Every Film Festival and Market Still Happening in 2020, in Person and Online. Directed by Michel Gondry. Gondry: Well, sometimes I’m excited to do several things at once. [Laughs] Maybe I used the wrong word. That’s what I’ve always liked about animation, particularly abstract animation. See more » This type of abstract animation is very intimate in that way. Filmmaker: You’ve always had some animated proclivities, and there’s a whimsy in your work that’s akin to animation, even though it’s typically live-action. Gondry: No. When you look at the lyrics, it looks a bit like a children’s book, each sentence finishing by ‘The Village. He thinks outside the box and comes up with stuff that evokes a child like response. It’s like when you hear someone playing an instrument, and you feel the direct connection between the instrument and his brain, because the instrument becomes an extension of his arms and fingers. 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. Animating Noam Chomsky: French Director Michel Gondry on New Film “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” 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. How does the process of making something like that, which is also very whimsical and cerebral, compare to making a project like this? And some of the audience can understand more than I did, which is fine by me. Especially about creativity, and the sort of democratic aspect of creativity — the idea that creativity can be found in any type of person. Michel Gondry is a French director, screenwriter, and producer noted for his inventive visual style and distinctive manipulation of mise en scène. Initially, Michel Gondry didnt even want to hire animators. 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. When I was not necessarily understanding everything he was saying exactly, I could just present it in abstraction. “I hated growing up in a city that was really a town that was really a fishbowl,” Idles frontman Joe Talbot says. To be vulnerable and to be naive is to have empathy. And I use that a lot to justify my lack of knowledge. Go behind the scenes of the handmade animation Michel Gondry made with his brother Olivier Gondry for British band IDLES 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. 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. But what I was trying to say was just a basic concept. It was a way to keep it light. What he had in mind was a very crude type of stop motion animation, something that would feel amateurish and energetic at the same time, as to reflect the characters childish personality. So that gives a very nice texture. It was very practical and handy for me. on Nov 21, 2013, Animation, DOC NYC, Michel Gondry, Noam Chomsky. I think it’s a very truthful way to express your thoughts, because the process is very direct. Filmmaker: Can you discuss the actual technique that you used to achieve the actual look that you did? 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. “Shattered” would mean it all sort of exploded. Gondry: Yes. And though he’s certainly made his mark on the world, I wanted to help add to it, and be a part of it. And then I would not betray anything that he was saying. It liberates you and it also liberates your audience. The feature also includes a weird penis-and-vagina animation by Michel that's likely to disturb some viewers. Idles, Michel Gondry, Music Video. 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. [Laughs] To not die alone, basically. 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