Michel Gondry reunites with The White Stripes in a brilliant new music video for the band's track "City Lights" -- a remarkable illustration of the celebrated director's ability to tell a visually dazzling story even with the simplest of tools.
The video appears to be shot in a bathroom, with the camera trained on a steamy shower stall. Inside, presumably, Gondry stands, and as the track plays, we see him illustrating each line from within by simply drawing with his fingertip on the fogged-up glass. First, a pair of entwined hands appears, followed by an airplane in flight, people looking at each other face-to-face, a woman's shy expression -- simple images that depict a touching tale of love and friendship. The condensation on the glass magically builds up just in time to create a new canvas for each new picture to appear, allowing each sketch to flow and blend into the other.
It's hypnotic to watch, and you can't help but wondering how many run-throughs it took to get just right -- or if Gondry himself is so creatively quick-thinking that he shot it in a single take.
The White Stripes did not commission the director this time around. According to Third Man, the video was a surprise gift from Gondry, who created it "on his own and without anyone's knowledge."
"City Lights" is the band's first new global commercial release since 2008. It was originally written for the band's 2005 album "Get Behind Me Satan," but was not actually finished until this year.
Gondry, of course, has a long history of collaboration with the band. Their partnership has yielded such classic clips as "Denial Twist," featuring a puppet Conan O'Brien and the 2001 track "Fell in Love With a Girl," which featured a clever Lego-inspired treatment -- even before the onset of pop culture's current Lego fever.