One of my personal favourites is "Drop" by The Pharcyde which was filmed entirely backwards with some very amusing results. Also "What's Up Fatlip?" by Fatlip who seems to be one of the few rappers that dares to appear on camera without four models hanging off each arm. In fact, he cycles through suburbia with a kiddie seat on the back of his bike, lets his 6 year old cousin kick him in the balls and raps on the street clad in nothing but a dirty raincoat and a diaper.
Listening to Jonze's commentary about making some of the videos is very revealing and, accompanied by the candid descriptions of failed attempts in the booklet, helps you realize that even highly successful directors like Jonze and Cunningham make mistakes too. Chris Cunningham in particular is very critical of his own work which unfortunately resulted in his DVD containing less videos than the other two.
Cunningham's style is very dark and ominous and in some cases downright scary, as in "Come To Daddy" (Aphex Twin). You've probably seen it and if so, you will probably never forget it as it depicts a deformed character in a TV set screaming "Come to daddy!" at children who all have Richard D. James' grinning face (Aphex Twin himself). I can barely watch it as it is exactly the kind of thing my nightmares are made of, but Madonna obviously liked it as she asked Cunningham to direct her video for "Frozen" after having seen it.
Probably the most notable video on the Cunningham DVD is Bjork's "All Is Full of Love" in which the Icelandic songstress is a white, plastic robot on an assembly line who ends up passionately kissing an identical robot, therefore kissing herself. The movements are so fluid and well done that it's almost arousing to watch, despite all the machinery surrounding them. Bjork is the common denominator in this set of DVDs as all directors have worked with her. It is Michel Gondry however who has the most Bjork videos to his name.
"Joga", "Bachelorette", "Hyperballad", "Army of Me", "Isobel" and "Human Behaviour" are all on there, along with other artists such as Kylie Minogue, The Rolling Stones, Daft Punk and Oui Oui (a band that Gondry himself played drums in for a while). I had never heard the name Gondry until this set came out, but as the title of this review suggests, he is my new hero now! Wow, he makes some jaw-dropping videos which, besides pioneering new video compositing techniques, prove the guy is a genius in creative concepts. He has such a good feel for which images go with the track. Take "Fell in Love With A Girl" by The White Stripes for example: entirely animated out of blue, yellow, red, black and white lego blocks! It works so well particularly because he sticks to very rough shapes and doesn't overdo the details.
Gondry is the man responsible for the Rolling Stones video "Like A Rolling Stone" in which Patricia Arquette crawls through Manhattan in a drugged haze. That video had a very strong "how on earth did he do that?" quotient as it appears to be made up of still photographs morphed into eachother, yet has the fluidity of film. In fact, most of his videos make you wonder how he realized certain effects and how he came up with the idea in the first place? The video for the Chemical Brothers' "Star Guitar" is worth buying this DVD for on its own. A view from a speeding train, the landscape rushing by as you might expect it to, until you realize that the landscape is in time with the music. Buildings. bridges and trees fly in and out of the frame on the beat, almost putting you in a trance. Pure genius again (sorry to keep repeating myself).
The booklet accompanying the Gondry DVD contains background information on the making of certain videos, but also pages of personal polaroids and drawings and stories which Gondry faxed from L.A. to his 6-year-old son, Paul in Paris. There's a collection of home-movies and experiments and a documentary about Gondry, named "I've Been 12 Forever", a very apt title. My favourite page in the book is one with photos of every car Gondry's father ever owned. I love that kind of wacky stuff.