Michel Gondry

Michel Gondry

The movie industry is the one to be in when it comes to the creative world.

People clamour to be the stars and directors with the reputation bonus any musician receives when approached for a theme song is huge.

But while the movie industry is always wanting directors with new and interesting visual styles, that’s old hat for the world of the music video. Music video has lead the way since the boom of MTV, and Hollywood knows it.

So, in the finest traditions of the creative world, they’ve been stealing the best and brightest directors and throwing them to the movies.

Perhaps the biggest (and definitely the most prestigious) name to come from the world of music directing is that of David Fincher. The Oscar nominated and Bafta winning filmmaker has been become one of Hollywoods leading lights, although many are unaware that he was also the mastermind behind Vogue and Express Yourself.

Even back then, Fincher’s visually striking yet cold style was fully in force. Madonna’s iconic videos were a ground breaking when they aired; asking more questions than music videos usually had the guts to do.

Fincher’s taken kept that same style in his film career too, with Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo all traceable back to his music video days, especially the latter.

Fincher’s films don’t look like music videos though, a criticism that you could easily lay at the feet of Tarsem Singh. The visionary director behind R.E.M’s Losing My Religion graduated into films with the mind-bendingly over-stylised The Cell.

Singh’s music videos were always a bizarre, crazed feast for the eyeballs. While Singh’s films look even more gorgeous, all blacks, golds, his films have an almost painted look.

Singh just hasn’t progressed out of the music video phase though when it comes to the bigger stuff. His films are bitty and uneven, often feeling like a series of music videos taped together with some filler. All of this leads to him being a clearly talented, but deeply flawed director.

Along the same lines as Singh is Michel Gondry, although he operates at a much higher level, in both worlds. Gondry’s music videos were beyond surreal, and his films match up to that same description.

His surrealist plots, love of practical effects based weirdness and repetition are clearly on show in his cinematic work, although he never quite did get the grasp on storytelling like Fincher did. With two more films in the pipeline though, Gondry’s not giving up yet.

Spike Jonze has gone back to the music video though. Obsessed with pop culture and with a real eye for the dramatic, Jonze should have been a perfect fit. But despite three cracking films (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are), it seemed that Hollywood had fallen out of love with Jonze.

His old love has taken him back with open arms and Jonze has worked with Kanye West, Acade Fire and long-term collaborators The Beastie Boys since his return alhough he is currently planning his cinematic comeback.

The traffic doesn’t just go one way though; movie directors do like to occasionally dabble in the art of the music video. Sofia Coppola, Bret Ratner, John Landis and the legendary Martin Scorsese have all turned their hands at it.

Landis and Scorsese both worked with Michael Jackson on the landmark videos for Thriller and Bad, both of which were defining moments in the history of the music video.

Despite this though, the trend of music directors going to the silver screen is set to continue, with Marc Webb having fully graduated to the big time with the release of the audience splitting The Amazing Spiderman.

The question is, who’ll be the next bright young thing trading MTV for Hollywood?

FemaleFirst Cameron Smith