Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? (2013)

by sfe medusa

45a67aa2d12f363ead17101a2a1446b7e23c42(dir. Michel Gondry)

The mesmerising visuals of Michel Gondry’s stylistic animations kept me captivated throughout the film, significantly more so than the actual dialogue between the director and the renowned Noam Chomsky.
For a somewhat tangential discussion on the topic of linguistics – and by tangential I don’t mean dreamy musings, I mean aimless pointlessness – the conversational aspect of the film was immensely disappointing. Chomsky doesn’t know what Gondry is asking (neither do we, bless his French accent), so repeats his base points, tells anecdotes that are so superficially related to his philosophy it made me throw my hands up in surrender and he actually comes across as a bit of a snooty arsehole.

Despite the interesting and profound subject matter, it is all merely touched upon – more deep-sea delving would’ve satisfied my expectation of drowning in some seriously esoteric discussion. And ultimately, the content is communicated badly. Perhaps it’s poor editing on Gondry’s behalf, or perhaps it’s because there’s an ironic point nestled in there somewhere; Chomsky has delivered legendary work in the field of linguistics and in the study and nature of language and communication (none of which I’ve read – maybe I am missing something here).

Criticisms aside, it was quite a beautiful watch thanks to Gondry’s absorbing animation, and I am very much looking forward to his new flick Mood Indigo (based on the French novel Foam of the Daze – might give that a read while I’m at it). Looks just as imaginative.

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