What is it about split screen in film that, when expertly employed, makes it so engaging and interesting? Some of my favorite films from the 1960’s use it really well — the original Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Woodstock come to mind right off the bat, but I’m sure I could find 20 others if I had a few minutes.
In Michel Gondry’s latest music video for The Living Sister’s song “How Are You Doing?,” the visionary iconoclast director uses a 3-way split screen to depict an increasingly crazier and crazier series of events for Inara George, Eleni Mandell and Becky Stark. There’s accidents, fires, shootouts, sinkholes and childbirth, all shot in Gondry’s trademark homemade style.
And in pure Gondry fashion, the events all align at the end. While I’m not exactly a huge fan of the song — it’s well-crafted but perhaps a little cutesy for my tastes — there’s no denying this is an awesome video.
This is not the first time that Gondry has used split screen either. Fans will remember a phenomenal video for Cibo Matto’s “Sugar Water,” which uses the same technique that shows the action going in both forward and reverse, serving as a mirror image that eventually meets in the middle. Truly great.