Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

Review: Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

17 Nov 14

Cinema as self-indulgence?

Movie fans may know French director, Michel Gondry, from the highs of 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', and lows of 'The Green Hornet'. If you’re a fan of philosophy, then you’ll be no stranger to America’s foremost analytic philosopher, cognitive scientist, political commentator and cunning linguist, Noam Chomsky. Throw them together in a room and you get 88-minutes of animated conversation – literally.

Gondry’s hand-drawn doodles transform what is basically a heavy, intellectual interview into a dazzling display of subjective thoughts. This is cinema as self-indulgence, and that’s the point. Gondry is keen to point out that any filmed conversation is edited, and subjective. Hence the doodles – there lest we forget this is Gondry’s recollection of a chat about religion, childhood memory, linguistics and life.

As Chomsky says: “Learning comes from asking.” Whether you learn from Gondry’s film will depends on where you draw the line between “playful” and “pretentious”, “art” and “annoying,” “Chomsky” and “Gondry”.