Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind (Gondry 2008) perfectly captures the spirit of “fun” I described in my recent post on Bollywood cinema. Based on the lukewarm reviews, (and my own disappointment with Gondry’s previous film The Science of Sleep) I wasn’t expecting to like this movie. It was fun watching Gondry show us how to recreate big budget special effects with ordinary household items. It reminded me of the pleasures of early silent films, back in the days when movies were “handmade”.
But even more than the special effects, I was totally caught up in the sheer fun of filmmaking as I watched Jack Black and Mos Def attempt to recreate Hollywood “blockbusters” with nothing more than a video camera. Given his references to copyright violation, community participation, etc., Gondry obviously has Youtube and other internet phenomena in mind here, but with their mix-and-match cliches and shamelessly “bad” (or should I say “awesomely bad”) technical quality, the movies within the movie reminded me of nothing so much as Bollywood. It was just good old, crowd-pleasing fun. This is what filmmaking is all about. Too bad one of the only other filmmakers to understand this is Baz Luhrmann. Speaking of which, I think I’ll go watch the shamelessly crowd-pleasing Strictly Ballroom….