Say this about Michel Gondry: when the director decides to make a documentary about someone famous, he sure picks quality subjects.
The acclaimed visual stylist’s last such feature, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party from 2005, captured the comedian shortly before the disintegration of his Comedy Central show, documented the brief reunion of The Fugees, and demonstrated to the world how much time The Roots could comfortably spend jamming (a lot). For his latest film, he went in a different direction: Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?, billed as “An Animated Conversation With Noam Chomsky,” is just Gondry and the famed political commentator/linguist sitting and talking.
The trailer for that movie was released today, though, and while it really is just a conversation between Gondry and Chomsky, the ever-innovative visual stylist found ways to make that particularly compelling. The key word is “animated,” as the ideas presented by Chomsky–who’s known for big ideas–get depicted in bright colors, in a loose, doodling style on-screen. When Chomsky talks about the way humans learn, we don’t stare at his face, we watch as the metaphor he uses comes to life.
It’s a clever, and visually interesting, way to capture Chomsky–whose speaking voice is, to put it plainly, kind of like the audio equivalent to a glass of warm milk–as the fascinating thinker he is. We should expect nothing less from Gondry.