French director Michelle Gondry premiered his new film “The We and the I” at Cannes Film Festival on Thursday. The film is said to explore the group dynamics of a dozen or so black and Latino teens from the Bronx as they make their way through town on a bus. But if you’re familiar with Gondry’s work, you know that there is probably a lot more to the story.
Depending on who you ask Gondry is famous for his music videos or his Oscar winning film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” He’s directed a whopping seven music video for the Icelandic artist Bjork and others like the electronic music duo Daft Punk. In 2006, Gondry also directed the documentary “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party” which followed comedian Dave Chappelle as he attempted to hold a large, free concert in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Gondry, who now lives in Brooklyn, said after a Cannes press screening that he was inspired to make the film after watching a group of high school students take the Number 80 bus in Paris.
Indiewire’s Simon Abrams was present at the film premiere and offers a bit more insight on the film that currently has no release date: > The We and the I’s plot largely concerns the roundabout way various disparate high school cliques interact with each other. For example, Michael and Theresa (Michael Brodie and Theresa L. Rivera, two stand-out amateur performers), a pair of estranged ex-lovers, serve as the film’s emotional anchors. But Michael’s group of bullies also teases the hot girl and her dorky best friend, who in turn razz the arty nerd, whose nose is buried in his sketchpad, who also was picked on earlier by Michael and his friends. The film’s plot is an amorphous series of testosterone and estrogen-fueled encounters spurred on by maniacally catty urges that are, thankfully, not all redeemed at the film’s eleventh hour. >
None of the reviews mention race or the race dynamics of the film and the director is a white male showing an intimate portrait of black and Latino teens in New York City, so there may be more to explore on that end. But as a fan of Gondry’s work I’ll venture to say he’ll probably stay away from stereotypes and instead take the teens on that bus on some bizarre sci-fi journey.