The Top Directors Working Today: Michel Gondry + Jonathan Glazer

Michel Gondry, Jonathan Glazer (and Spike Jonze who's coming up later) didn't just come from a Music Video background, they pushed the format to its outer limits, creating some of the greatest Videos of all time.

Gondry's feature films include Human Nature, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, Block Party, The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind. The features all show a playful visionary, but the end results are decidedly mixed. (I don't know what to say about Block Party. It was highly praised and some may argue that it's his best film, but I was mostly bored.) I think his films are wildly uneven and his story focus seems easily distracted. He’s a whiz with in-camera trickery, but I wish he cared enough to not let his films look so grungy.

I'd say Gondry is able to create Great things and his tricks keep it interesting, but he doesn't take the care to mold his ideas into a final beautiful film.

According to the poll on Filmspotting...

13% think Gondry is a unique talent that brings Greatness to any script.
30.5% think he's a Great director most of the time.
52% think he's always interesting, but you can't count on him for Greatness.
4.5% think he's only worth watching if given the right material.

He's always interesting, but only great when given enough yarn and cardboard to work with.

I wonder if there is a parallel between the quality of his music videos and the quality of his films? perhaps his music vids are great because somebody else came up with the content (i.e. the music) and his better films are great because somebody else came up with the content (i.e. the script).
-Think Long

I don't feel I can justify including Jonathan Glazer, but I don't want to leave him off either. Many people really dug Sexy Beast, but I stand nearly alone in thinking Birth is an incredible achievement in filmmaking. I've also watched his Videos DVD and he's completely unafraid to push the music into the background of the video, focusing more on a narrative story. Plus, his commercial showing surf waves as giant horses made my jaw hit the floor. It's visually stunning (and both pre-dates and does the job better than Fellowship of The Ring.)

I say Jonathan Glazer definitely belongs in this discussion. He is a Great Director who has already proven himself, and I will be there opening weekend for whatever he does next.


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