Michel Gondry

16 09 2009
From the tracking shot of Lyon, France

From the tracking shot of Lyon, France

From 'Star Guitar'

From 'Star Guitar'

For my second artist entry i choose to investigate Michel Gondry.

What I find interesting about the silent film class that i’m in is how influential the work of the Lumière Brothers is. After viewing the track shot film through Lyons(screen shot above), I recalled a music video I had seen last semester by the native French film and video director Michel Gondry. The music video “Star Guitar” by the band the Chemical Brothers is filmed in a similar manner to the tracking shot of “Lyons”. Interestingly enough, the scenery in the video is DV (digital video) footage taken by Gondry on vacation in France from Nimes to Valence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Guitar). The camera remains stationary on a moving train as scenery passes by in sync with the techno music playing in the background. As the music becomes more complex, so does the scenery(essentially each element in the scenery belongs to an element of the song).The angle of that the stationary camera is also similar to that of the Lyons film, giving the viewer the feeling of actually riding the train. Another similarity is that beyond the moving scenery there is no significant action going on. The action is just that—the movement of the scenery, which has a very hypnotic affect. The video was shot ten times in one day in order to get different light gradients. Gondry planned this music video out on graph paper before actually editing the footage, as seen here:

The final product:

I think that the meaning behind his work is nothing more then just paying attention to the movement of the scenery with the synchronization of the techno beat. I suppose in a way he is trying to show how music can be a visual art form. What I find interesting though is that at first glance, this video is not that exciting or elaborate, but as the music picks up the visuals become more interesting and intricate with the transitions from bridges and water to a street side walk, etc. It’s refreshing to see a music video that is modest with its visual subject yet still satisfies the eye, versus the elaborate, fast editing, spectacle music videos one might see on Mtv (if they even show music videos any more..).

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