He grew up in Versailles with a family who was very influenced by pop music. When he was young, Gondry wanted to be a painter or an inventor. In the 80s he entered in an art school in Paris where he could develop his graphic skills and where he also met friends with whom he created a pop-rock band called Oui-Oui. The band released 2 albums ('Chacun tout le monde' and 'Formidable') and several singles until their separation in 1992. Gondry was the drummer of the band and also directed their video clips in which it was possible to see his strange world, influenced by the 60s and by his childhood. One of his videos was shown on MTV and when Björk saw it, she asked him to make her first solo video for 'Human Behaviour'. The partnership is famous: Gondry directed five other Björk's videos, benefiting by the huge budgets. This led to commissions for other artists around the world, including Massive Attack. He also made a lot of commercials for Gap, Smirnoff, Air France, Nike, Coca Cola, Adidas, Polaroid and Levi - the latter making him the most highly-awarded director for a one-off commercial.
Hollywood became interested in Gondry's success and he directed his first feature movie Human Nature (2001), adapting a Charlie Kaufman's scenario, which was shown in the 2001 Cannes Festival. Although it wasn't a big success, this film allowed him to direct Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), for which he again collaborated with Charlie Kaufman. The movie became a popular independent film and he and his co-writers won an Oscar for it.
Surreal settings and visual effects
In his video clips and commercials, he was a pioneer for a lot of things. For example the video clip he made for IAM (Je danse le Mia) was the first video clip using the morphing technics. And above all he invented the technique of several cameras taking pictures in the same time around somebody. This technique was used for the first time in a commercial for insurance, then in Björk's "Army of Me" video clip and in The Matrix (1999).
His grandfather Constant Martin invented one of the first synthesizers (the Clavioline), and his father sold electric guitars.
Played drums on Kanye West's hit single "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" (2005)
Is a big fan of Mya.
His 1994 "Drugstore" spot for Levi's 501 Jeans holds the record for most awards won by a TV commercial.
Artist in Residence at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology in 2005 and 2006.
Brother of Olivier Gondry.
Graduated from École Olivier de Serres in Paris.
Spent 2005 as an artist-in-residence at MIT.
His grandfather, Constant Martin, invented the clavioline, one of the first keyboard synthesizers. His father programmed computers. His mother was a pianist.
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.
Has a son called Paul.
At the 2006 Berlin Film Festival, he told that the main location of The Science of Sleep (2006) is a house where he used to live 15 years ago.
Released a collection of DVDs with Spike Jonze: Work of Director. It is a collection of DVDs, one on Michel Gondry, one on Spike Jonze, one on Jonathan Glazer and on Chris Cunningham, amongst others. Each features music videos, ads and short videos by those directors. This helped them get public recognition for the work they had done for many bands and pop culture in general.
Sometimes it's better to have less money [for budget] and more freedom.
'Back to the Future' is one of my favorite films, and if I was offered a quirky, funny, big-budget movie, I would do it in a minute.
Being surrounded by people who are creative makes you want to be creative.
Every great idea is on the verge of being stupid.
I usually identify with the nerds, but these ones [Comic-Con audience] just reinforce the social rules. Their values are fascistic. All those people marching around in capes and masks and boots. The superhero imagery is totally fascist! When you step into this genre, they feel it belongs to them. They want you to conform, or they won't like you. They want the conventional.
(On Le voyage en Ballon) It's the first film I remember. It's the film I like to re-watch the best. When you're young, you're very receptive to all the stuff you see, the emotions. And then you try all the time to match up with those sensations. So in this sense it may have changed my life because I'm always trying to re-create this feeling of watching this movie.
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