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December 10, 2003 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-10

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ART S

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 10, 2003 -13

BEYOND MT
NEW DVD SERIES SHOWCA
ART OF THE MUSIC VID
By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Editor
DVD REVIEW
Video may have killed the radio star, but now it's made
for an incredible new DVD series.
Introduced in October, the Director's Label embraces the
careers of some of the best directors who've worked in the
music video format in the past decade. Moreover, these
DVD organizers thankfully did not stop with just the pro-
ductions done for MTV, also including short films, docu-
mentaries, commercials and other work done by the selected
filmmakers. If that were not enough, each DVD )fume

V
SES THE
)EO
Jonze revolution-
ized the music
video in the mid-
'90s and racked
up a shelf of
MTV Music
Award astronauts
on the way.
Jonze's video for Weezer's "Buddy Holly" may have
garnered most of the attention with its Fonz-like cool-
ness, but "Undone (The Sweater Song)" remains equally
impressive, showing Jonze in his early filmmaking
stages, taking the simplest of concepts (the Cuomo-led
band playing in a blue studio) and through playful acting,
a slow-motion-like film speed and a rush-of-dogs
denouement made it repeatedly viewable.
Here lies Jonze's other talent; he constantly finds the best
artists, and more specifically songs, on the market and
develops long-lasting, fruitful relationships with them
(Weezer, Bjork, Beasties Boys). The Beastie Boys' "Sabo-
tage" is a great song. Jonze's video for "Sabotage" is even
better. Most of Jonze's collaborators, like the Beasties, are
also featured on the DVD with interviews and audio com-
mentaries (Christopher Walken even makes an appearance
to talk up Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice"). Side B has
three lively documentaries of Jonze's and some rarities,
including the skateboarding videos that got Spike his start.
The Work of Director Chris Cunningham
The least well known of the three directors, Chris Cun-
ningham's darker work with mostly techno artists may not
be as viewer-friendly, but he also may just boast the best
video from all three discs.
What becomes increasingly obvious as you make your way

boasts a 52-page book with photo-
graphs, interviews, drawings and, most
entertaining of all, stories of working
with the artists.
Since the development of the Auteur
Theory by French film theorists in the
1950s, the director has been widely
recognized as the true author of mostly
all film and video work. There have

The
Director's
Label:
Volumes 1-3
Palm Pictures

through the
three DVDs is how the video work of Bjork
establishes itself as the connecting thread between these film-
makers. While not everyone loves Bjork's music (or her some-
times alien appearance and awkward choice of wardrobe), a
trip through these DVDs certainly makes a case for Bjork as
the best video artist of all time. Cunningham's imagining of
her "All is Full of Love" finds a many-armed machine careful-
ly putting together an "A.I "-like robot (with Bjork supplying
her face) in a white-washed space. Once complete, the newly-
created android finds love (and lovemaking) in the arms of its
robotic creator. It's eerie, distinctive and beautiful - perfectly
capturing the moods of the source material.
Overall, Cunningham's disc fails to the live up to the
quality of the other two in release mostly because it only
occupies a single side of the DVD, meaning a severe lack in
extras. Despite the shortchanging in available material, Cun-
ningham's entry is still guaranteed to linger in your memory
banks, thanks to the nightmarish images of videos like
Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy."
The Work of Director Michel Gondry
Jonze has already made the leap to big-screen success
with "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation;" Michel
Gondry, the director of choice for Bjork and the White
Stripes, is now right behind Jonze with an underrated come-

dy under
his belt ("Human Nature") and a Jim Car-
rey-vehicle finding release this spring ("Eternal Sunshine of
the Spotless Mind"). Still, as is obvious from the recent
release of another memorable White Stripes video (the play-
fully-edited "The Hardest Button to Button"), Gondry has
not left music videos far behind.
The Versailles-born Gondry first made a name for him-
self with a running teddy bear for Bjork's "Human Behav-
ior" video; yet, it wasn't until the colorful Lego mania of the
Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl" that Gondry finally found
real MTV airplay. However, it is his incredible work in
between, which consistently and wonderfully play with the
ideas of repeated actions and dream-like realities, that make
Gondry's disc the best of the Director's Label trio. I have
now watched the video for Daft Punk's "Around the World"
at least 20 times, and I cannot wait to watch it again. As
Gondry somehow explains in simple terms in the 52-page
book, the song demands the delightful-creepiness of watch-
ing an assembly of skeletons, disco girls, athletes, robots
and mummies dance in circles.
Extras, once again spilling over onto a Side B, include a 75-
minute documentary on Gondry and the making of his videos,
some imaginative shorts from his younger days and more.

always been the critics of such singularly-aimed praise, but
these music-oriented sets certainly illustrate how the unique
voice of a single individual can find its way into anything -
no matter how different in style or substance - they do.
The first three Director's Label discs were released all on
the same day, and three greater voices in today's music
video world could not have been found.
The Work of Director Spike Jonze
Pick your favorite music video from the '90s. Go ahead, any
video. Chances are Spike Jonze was the man behind the cam-
era. Side A of Jonze's DVD contains 16 examples of how

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