What better antidote to our cynical, mean-spirited world (I’m looking at you Sagmeister post commentators) than a good old fashioned life-affirming movie. Which is just what Michel Gondry’s new film, Be Kind Rewind provides…
Thanks to Gondry’s production company, Partizan, I’ve just got back from a screening of the film in London. It’s trademark Gondry – whimsical, kind-hearted but, thankfully, better focused than his last feature, The Science Of Sleep.
The action centres around Danny Glover’s titular video shop, supposedly also the birthplace of the legendary Fats Waller. Glover goes off to a Waller tribute weekend leaving the shop in the hands of Mike (Mos Def). Mike’s best friend, Jerry, played by Jack Black, for reasons too complicated to go into here, manages to get himself magnetised and acidentally wipes all the videos in the shop. There’s only one thing for it – Mike and Jerry will have to re-create the movies themselves (or ‘Swede’ them as it’s termed in the film), starting with their own, unique, take on Ghostbusters, which can be seen in this trailer:
It’s in these brilliantly realised home movies that Gondry’s familiar genius for charming effects comes to the fore. Here’s Mike and Jerry’s version of Robocop:
And Rush Hour 2:
Seeing them, incidentally, reminded me of the current trend in commercials toward the hand-crafted and ever-so-slightly-twee, as in this Orange ad
and this one
Influential guy that Gondry.
Back to the movie: Needless to say, Mike and Jerry’s efforts become far more popular than the Hollywood originals and look like they might help save the video store from demolition by developers. But then some studio lawyers (boo) turn up and do them for copyright infringement (hiss). Undeterred, Mike and Jerry realise they can still make their own films and, with the help of their customers, set about making a Waller biopic to raise the much-needed funds.
It’s a lovely, charming film with an ending that leaves you with a soppy smile, despite desperate efforts to remain coolly aloof.
Incidentally, Gondry is having an exhibition at the Deitch Projects gallery in New York to coincide with the film’s release. The show will recreate the video store from the movie plus there’ll be a back lot containing a variety of movie sets where visitors can make their own renditions of films.