MARCH 19 To what does Michel Gondry attribute hissuccess as a director of music videos (including “The HardestButton to Button”) and movies (Human Nature)? He sayshe owes it all to the White Stripes. “The best thing that canhappen to a director is if you get onboard with a band that’sjust taking off and you go to the summit with them,” says the40-year-old Parisian. Today, he trades MTV for the multiplex withhis second feature film, Eternal Sunshine of the SpotlessMind. Jim Carrey stars as a man who undergoes an experimentalprocedure to have his ex-girlfriend (Kate Winslet) erased from hismemory, but when he changes his mind midway through the operation,it creates a Being John Malkovich-like limbo inCarrey’s head, where much of the movie takes place. (Notcoincidentally, Malkovich screenwriter Charlie Kaufman also wroteSunshine‘s script.) Gondry’s biggest dilemma wasbeing a Frenchman in the United States during the months leading upto the invasion of Iraq. “I had an argument with some of thefilm’s crew,” he recalls. “The 80-year-old unionboss came in the next day. He’s like, ‘Are you MichelGondry?’ And I said, ‘Yes, but people call me FrenchToast.’ And he was like, ‘No. LibertyToast.’ He was totally serious.”
1. H.R. Pufnstuf: The Complete SeriesSo that the next generation of stoners can enjoy the adventures ofyoung Jimmy and the whimsical dragon mayor of its title, all 17episodes of 1969’s H.R. Pufnstuf are rolled into thisthree-disc set. Creators Sid and Marty Krofft may deny thecountercultural implications of their classic kiddie show’s decidedlypsychedelic look, but anyone familiar with the Mr. Show parody “Druggachusettes” knows better.
2. Journeys With George While campaigning withthen-candidate Bush, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi recorded this portraitof a baseball enthusiast who discovers there’s little more to politicsthan a firm handshake and an oversize Texas belt buckle. While she’streated like a bimbo with a camera, Pelosi (daughter of California Rep.Nancy Pelosi) captures our commander in chief as a personable, slightlystern guy who might have made a ?better middle-school principal.
3. Blow-Up Groovy, baby: Available for the first time on DVD, this film is the real inspiration for Austin Powers.Michelangelo Antonioni’s moody portrait of a fashion photographer(played by David Hemmings) who accidentally captures a murder on film(or does he?) is a perfectly preserved piece of mod-era swinging Londonand the model-bedding men who made the most of the scene. Think of itas a prototype for CSI — with the Yardbirds and orgies.D.V.