director Michel Gondry
I suppose if I had the opportunity to sit down with a preeminent intellectual and thinker like Noam Chomsky, I’d gladly take up the opportunity. Filmmaker Michel Gondry stumbled on such an opportunity and took a movie camera and recorded his conversations with the intelligent, controversial octogenarian. Gondry then took the footage home and animated the conversation in free-form line drawings, adding massive whimsy to the far-reaching conversation/discussion.
Gondry’s illustrations are fun and kind of cool. Chomsky’s musings about linguistics, politics, and science in general are not uninteresting.
But Gondry himself isn’t exactly the most stimulating of interrogators. His French accent is thicker than foie gras. Even when he transposes his words in writing while he narrates, it takes a lot of effort to hear him out. And Chomsky often misunderstands Gondry’s questions. This could have been an interesting point of discussion, but it’s not addressed. Instead, it’s a somewhat rambling series of discussions from René Descartes to Chomsky’s own childhood.
Frankly, as an intro to Chomsky, it’s probably not nearly as interesting nor compelling as the 1992 documentary/essay Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media.
Gondry has one good film to his name, 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. So far, that’s all he’s got.