The Favorites is a series briefly exploring films I love, to find out what makes them - and me - tick. Hyperballad (1996/France/dir. Michel Gondry) appeared at #39 on my original list.
What it is • Bjork appears as an immobile sculpture, eyes closed in sleep - except when they briefly open - a tribute to the one moment of movement in Chris Marker's La Jetee? Simultaneously, she floats above as a sort of hologram, singing her song "Hyperballad" as the camera pivots around her form(s). Finally, most iconically, a video game avatar Bjork sprouts from the death mask-like visage and runs across the screen, the camera following her through a pixelated city, with the simple shapes of mountain peaks dominating the background. Michel Gondry's music video for this mid-nineties single touches on many of his favorite themes and motifs: simple, pleasing forms; a childlike sense of whimsy; multimedia interactions; the stark contrast of city and country. However, it also corresponds to the song's lyrics. Bjork sings a joyous ode to contemplating (and experimenting with) danger extremities each morning, before appreciatively returning to the security of her mountaintop home and companionship of her still-sleeping lover. And the the visuals reflect the gentle whirls and whoops of the electronic soundscape, a synthetic sound that feels organic. I only learned this tonight, while reviewing a video I must have watched at least a dozen times, that all of "Hyperballad" was shot on a single roll of film, each layer of imagery exposed over the same frames. There's an incredible sense of natural movement to the effect despite the laserlike precision necessary to pull it off.
Why I like it •