Michel Gondry

Last updated
Michel Gondry
Michel Gondry Deauville 2012.jpg
Born (1963-05-08) 8 May 1963 (age 57)
Versailles, France
  • Director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
Years active1986–present

Michel Gondry (French:  [miʃɛl ɡɔ̃dʁi] ; born 8 May 1963) is a French director, screenwriter, and producer noted for his inventive visual style and distinctive manipulation of mise en scène. [1] 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.


His other films include the surrealistic science fantasy comedy The Science of Sleep (2006), the comedy Be Kind Rewind (2008), the superhero action comedy The Green Hornet (2011), the drama The We and the I (2012), and the romantic science fantasy tragedy Mood Indigo (2013).

He is well known for his music video collaborations with Daft Punk, Donald Fagen, Radiohead, Björk, Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Kylie Minogue, IDLES, and The White Stripes.

Early life

Gondry was born in Versailles. He is the grandson of inventor Constant Martin. [2]


Gondry in 2008 Michel-Gondry-Be-Kind.JPG
Gondry in 2008

Gondry's vision and career began with his emphasis on emotion. Much of his inspiration, he says, came from the film Le voyage en ballon. He stated: "When I watch this movie, I dream I'm flying and then I do stories where people are flying. I think it's directly influencing." [3]

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 eight music videos for Björk.[ citation needed ]

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's video for Lucas Secon's "Lucas with the Lid Off" was nominated in the Best Music Video (short form) category at the 37th Grammy Awards, [4] (one of two Gondry music videos nominated that year along with Sinéad O'Connor's Fire On Babylon).

Gondry has also created numerous television commercials. He pioneered the "bullet time" technique later adapted in The Matrix in the 1996 "Smarienberg" commercial for Smirnoff vodka, as well as directing a trio of inventive holiday-themed advertisements for clothing retailer Gap. [5] [6]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. 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.[ citation needed ]

According to the Guinness World Records 2004, Gondry's Levi's 501 Jeans "Drugstore" spot holds the record for "Most awards won by a TV commercial". [7] The commercial was never aired in North America because of the suggestive content involving purchasing latex condoms.

He was asked by French comic duet Éric and Ramzy to direct Seuls Two , but declined; by his suggestion, Éric and Ramzy subsequently asked Mr Oizo to direct another movie, Steak . [8]

In September 2006, Gondry made his debut as an installation artist at Deitch Projects in New York City's SoHo 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. [9]

A leitmotif of the film is a 'Disastrology' calendar; Gondry commissioned the painter Baptiste Ibar to draw harrowing images of natural and human disasters. [10]

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, Daft Punk and The Vines. [11] Michel's son Paul Gondry is an artist, actor, and film director as well. [12]

Gondry was an Artist in Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005 and 2006. Later directing the music video for the Paul McCartney song "Dance Tonight", in which Gondry makes a cameo appearance. [13]

Gondry directed "Unnatural Love", the fifth episode in season two of HBO's Flight of the Conchords. [14] Interior Design one third of the 2008 anthology film Tokyo! was next for Gondry. Interior Design was based on the comic book "Cecil and Jordan in New York" by Gabrielle Bell but was adapted from New York City to Tokyo for the film.[ citation needed ]

In 2009, The Thorn in the Heart , another feature documentary, was released, it is about Michel's aunt Suzette and her son Jean-Yves. In 2011, Gondry directed The Green Hornet , a superhero film by Sony starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Christoph Waltz; Rogen co-wrote the script. In 2011, he was the head of the jury for the short film competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. [15] [16]

His film The We and the I was selected to be screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. [17] [18]

On 3 January 2013, Gondry released his latest animated short Haircut Mouse on his official Vimeo channel. [19] In February 2013, Gondry released a hand-drawn animated documentary on famed linguist Noam Chomsky, Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? . [20]

In 2014, he was selected as a member of the jury for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. [21]

On 23 January 2013, Gondry was confirmed to have produced the video for Metronomy's upcoming single, Love Letters, as it was named Zane Lowe's Hottest Record in the World.[ citation needed ]



Human Nature 2001YesNoNo
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004YesStoryNoStory co-written with Charlie Kaufman and Pierre Bismuth
The Science of Sleep 2006YesYesYes
Be Kind Rewind 2008YesYesYes
The Green Hornet 2011YesNoNo
The We and the I 2012YesYesYesCo-written with Paul Proch and Jeff Grimsha
Mood Indigo 2013YesYesYesCo-written with Luc Bossi
Microbe & Gasoline 2015YesYesNo

Short films

L'expedition fatale1986YesYes
My Brother's 24th Birthday1988YesNo
Vingt p'tites tours1989YesNo
La lettre1998YesYes
One Day...2001YesYesAppears as "The Man"
Pecan Pie 2003YesYes
I've Been Twelve Forever2004YesNoAppears as himself
Ossamuch! – Kishu & CoYesNo
Three Dead PeopleYesYes
Drumb and DrumberYesNo
Michel Gondry Solves a Rubik's Cube with His Nose2007YesYes
Interior Design2008YesYesSegment from Tokyo!
Haircut Mouse2013YesYes


Dave Chappelle's Block Party 2005YesNoYes
The Thorn in the Heart 2009YesYesNo
Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? 2013YesYesYesAlso animator and appears as himself


Flight of the Conchords 2009YesNoEpisode: "Unnatural Love"
Jimmy Kimmel Live! 2011YesNoGuest director
Kidding 2018–2020YesExecutive8 episodes

Other releases

Music videos



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