The great success of “Fell in Love With a Girl,” which shoved the White Stripes awkwardly onto MTV and VH1, proved to XL Recordings and the band that another collaboration with Michel Gondry would work just fine. Thus they were brought together for the band’s next single, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” a punk dirge whose lyrics spark from separation.
Neither the video nor the song are as easily consumed as the poppy “Girl.” The video takes a few viewings to fully comprehend: the first viewing is spent solely on the story and how-the-heck-did-they-do-that speculation. In fact they used film projection, one of Gondry’s trademark techniques.
Jack White returns home to find a mess of his possessions in front of it. Inside, he finds the home scoured and obliterated, and absent of Meg. He walks through the home in shock, anger, and despondency. His mind races, thinking of how this devastation occurred: what happened to his relationship with Meg? who did this?
We know what’s going on in Jack’s head because it is projected onto the very rooms as he thinks them. It is as if his mind is taunting him, forcing him to witness the destruction of his house and relationship like a helpless bystander.
On the walls we get to see the story unfold as well: Jack leaves the house and waves goodbye to Meg. The coast clear, partygoers chaotically enter the house through doors and windows and have at it. At first Meg tries to push the punks out the door, but to no avail. Once the destruction is over she packs her bag, grabs one of their favorite paintings off the wall, and walks out.
Interspersed with these projections are the ghosts of Jack and Meg’s life in the house: singing at the piano, cute moments in the kitchen, tales of a once-fruitful relationship. But these are simply ghosts, and Jack sags down on the bed, defeated.
Meg remarks, "We had such a great time working with Michel Gondry again on the “Dead Leaves” video but Jack had it much easier than I did during the shoot. All of his scenes were alone or with me. One funny and slightly dangerous moment was when I was steamrolled by the bunch of partygoers who were trying to bust into our house. In one take, I was knocked to the ground, pop was dumped all over me, and I landed on the camera." (MTV.com) –Director-file.com
Pioneering director Michel Gondry’s remarkable creative energy and ability to innovate have resulted in some of the most visually stunning music videos in the history of the medium, and his wild imagination and organic, childlike imagery raised the bar of what one could achieve in the short format. In particular, his technique of placing numerous cameras around a subject and combining the images to form a visually astonishing sweeping effect has become so popular that it has since gone on to achieve timeless notoriety in such films as the The Matrix. With a family background that consists of a number of inventors and technological innovators, Gondry, not surprisingly, is seen as a bottomless wealth of imaginative innovation.
Michel Gondry is a native of Versailles who was raised in a freethinking family that encouraged and supported his creative endeavors; his parents harbored a deep love of pop music and the works of Duke Ellington, in particular. Gondry’s grandfather Constant… read more