Michel Gondry's Strangest Inventions

By
Clarisse Loughrey

While the opinions on this week's release of Mood Indigo range from overindulgent piece of whimsy to absolute farce, I think even the most disappointed and resentful among us would have to concede that Gondry's imagination remains a fervent wonderland of creativity.

Throughout his entire career, from his humble beginnings directing music videos in his native France to the height of his fame with 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the man has always wowed his audiences with unforgettable inventions and wild flights of fantasy. You probably won't be surprised to learn that he's actually the grandson of Constant Martin, inventor of the precursor to the synthesizer. Sweet. So let's whiz through a top ten of Gondry's finest wonderments, and count down the inventions we'll be desperately asking Santa to spirit into this world once Christmas comes to town. 

1. Lacuna's memory erasure machine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

I know Gondry makes the whole concept seem so very melancholy and bittersweet, but he's dealing with erasing from memory the pain of love gone sour. Admittedly, that is the first thing every person would ask to have removed from their brains. But we're ignoring the second thing everyone would erase, my friend, and that is the ability to forget all the stupid crap we pulled throughout our dismal excuses for a life. Like that one time you peed yourself in the playground. And that one time your boss caught you googling pictures of goat penises at work, out of scientific curiosity. You know, common experiences we all share – and would rather live in blissful ignorance of. 

2. Log-nunchucks from The Foo Fighter's Everlong (1997)

For when normal nunchunks just don't quite convey enough the message of "if you try and chainsaw my girlfriend even once I will slap you with my giant inflatable hand so hard". 

3. One-second time machine from The Science of Sleep (2006)

I know Mr. Whimsy himself Stéphane Miroux (Gael Garcia Bernal) is uber keen on the one-second time machine because: "It all adds up. Life is too precious." Obviously it should be spent in pursuit of charming the pants off Charlotte Gainsbourg and embracing all the wonderful opportunities life has to give us. Yet all I'm hearing is that I can eat twice the amount of pizza in one sitting. Shut up and take my money Michel Gondry. 

4. Life-size Operation from Radiohead's Knives Out (2001)

Kid's toy or medical school training device? Who cares! It's fun for the whole family!

5. Robot Karate from Be Kind Rewind (2008)

Here's three things that could have been improved with the addition of robot karate: Robocop, the Robocop remake, and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

6. Video-mixer guitar from Flight of the Conchords (2009)

This is pretty much an essential tool if you're living in daily fear of someone organising a choir of all your ex-girlfriends.

7. Pianocktail from Mood Indigo (2013)

OK, so the actual credit for this goes to Boris Vian, who wrote Mood Indigo's original source material, 'Froth on the Daydream', but I just have to include it in this list for one reason and one reason only: someone actually went and made the thing. So excuse me while I track this miraculous instrument down and demand its builder to play Taylor Swift's Love Story until the sun goes down. Presumably producing cup after cup of refreshingly crisp white girl tears. 

8. Tiny-headed street dancers from Daft Punk's Around the World (1997)

I'm not really sure exactly why one of the groups of dancers in Gondry's music video of Around the World is a bunch of people in tracksuits with tiny dolls heads and massive shoulders, but then again, I'm not really sure about anything that's going on in this video. The only explanation I could come to is that somehow tinier heads are less impeding when it comes to pulling off sick street dance moves. If anyone could explain to me the physics of how exactly that works I'd be much obliged. 

9. The REM controller from The Science of Sleep (2006)

If it'll stop me having recurring nightmares about Gary Busey, then I'm totally onboard. 

10. Gorilla dentist from Bjork's Army of Me (1995)

Sure, they may lack in grace with small instruments and general comprehension of the English language but, boy, are they going to ensure you keep up to date with your oral hygiene. What, you're going to tell a 350lb ape to its face that you haven't flossed in three years? Nice try, buddy. 

Follow Clarisse on Twitter: @clarisselou

'Mood Indigo' is released on 1 August.
 

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