Sound And Vision: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Contributing Writer; The Netherlands
Sound And Vision: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

In the article series Sound and Vision we take a look at music videos from notable directors. This week we take a look at several of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's music videos.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet started out his video career with many music videos, some of which he co-directed with his frequent collaborator Marc Caro. The first music video they made together already shows their heightened sense of style. Julien Clerc's La fille aux bas nylon (below) has proudly fake backdrops, a cartoony style, and objects becoming embodied with life when there was none before. It's a living Fleischer brothers cartoon, with some of the horniness of a Tex Avery short. Its central premise, after all, is the whole city becoming hot for the woman in the song title, inanimate objects included.

Jean-Michel Jarre's Zoolook (also below), which Jeunet co-directed with Caro, has a lot of the same DNA as their feature La Cité des enfants perdus, a steampunk gothic science-fiction story about mad scientists and childhood flights of fancy, just like this particular music video.

Meanwhile, Claudia Phillips' Souvenez-vous de nous (also below), shows more of the quirk that would show up in Jeunet's earlier Caro-collaborations like Delicatessen. Here, a sort of cheerleading pyramid of people is taken to more and more extreme consequences, building up a human tower of increasingly weird characters, all balancing on top of each other. It's a fun oddity, again on the extremely cartoonish side.

Jeunet lost a lot of that cartoonish side by the time he made Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain, a film that shoots for quirk but instead lands on twee. I'm not a big fan, thinking of that film as extremely overrated, and somewhat cynical despite its exterior of rainbows, puppies and lollipops. Still, you can't deny the shadow Amelié and her crème brulée have cast over the French film industry, Jeunet's own career included. He was now a Serious Filmmaker ™, and he had to prove it. What followed were films like Un long dimanche de fiançailles and The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, self-serious drama's with a dash of oddity, that failed to live up to the heights of earlier works by Jeunet. I prefer his Alien: Resurrection, to be honest.

The sense that Amélie is inescapable, a black void of doe-eyed optimism, is present in the final music video Jeunet made, long after he stopped being a music video director and became an Auteur with a capital A. Gauvain Sers' Pourvu (finally below) is a collection of small impressions of a relationship and life, in which the lyrics are illustrated by odd tableaux vivants, making the subtext quite literal at times. There are some dashes of La Cité Des Enfants Perdus in the imagery, the shot with the disembodied brain especially. But Amélie shows up not once but twice, the first time gratingly so when cinephilia is mentioned. The second one the character and film are name-dropped, and Jeunet at least finds a way to bring a new twist to some of that film's iconic moments. Still, it feels excessively self-aggrandizing. Jeunet has become synonymous with his most famous character. A much more interesting director got lost somewhere along the way.

Screen Anarchy logo
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here to report it, or see our DMCA policy.

More about Sound and Vision

Around the Internet