Although Jean-Baptiste Mondino has directed music videos for huge artists like Madonna, Bjork and Chris Isaak, my favorite video of all time is for the relatively unknown Les Rita Mitsouko. Mondino was helped considerably by the frantic sexy robotics of Catherine Ringer, the windmill gyrations of guitarist Fred Chichin and, the sure crowd pleaser, chimpanzee antics. It is a brave director who steps in the room with those three.
Produced by Tony Visconti, the entire album is fantastic and I still listen to it regularly. Sadly, Fred Chichin passed away last November.
Slightly NSFW - Mirwais "Naive Song" from Production
Nearly twenty years after Les Rita Mitsouko, Mondino choreographed the removal of Mirwais' cabaret makeup to the infectious beats of French electronica. Admittedly, I really love trashy French house music and this is a particularly fine example.
French Advertisement for Spontex Sponges
French Advertisement for Kodak
Neither unknown nor underappreciated, Mondino's place in fashion, photography and directing is rock solid. Before the days of YouTube, I would pay attention if I heard of a Jean-Baptiste project, but how the hell would I ever be able to see French commercials?
It would be wrong to leave the reader with the impression that Mondino's talents are restricted to frenetic overloads. The Henley "Boys of Summer" video swept the MTV Music Video Awards and is a beautifully shot, wonderfully restrained, example of the best of the 1980s.
In addition to Mondino's considerable directing talents, he is also a tremendous photographer who continues to amaze.
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