August 4, 2009

AEIO, Not U, Never Y: La Danse Des Mots By Jean-Baptiste Mondino

What up, France? It's not enough to claim you invented flying and movies, now you think you invented music videos, too? I'll be dimplomatic and assume it's just a typo, otherwise the official position of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs on the invention of music videos is a ballsy, but delusional fantasie:

According to most producers, two of the major influences in the short history of the pop video have been none other than Jean-Baptiste Mondino and Michel Gondry. Mondino was, in fact, the first to establish the aesthetic values of video scripting with La danse des mots in 1974. Until that time these had been limited to the exponent's static shot, or to the model of musicals, following the example of Michael Jackson's Thriller (1983).
Mhmm. the very existence of a mainstream video blockbuster like Thriller a year before the actual release date of La Danse des Mots pretty much proves that music video was already a hotbed of narrative, aesthetic, and technical experimentation when Mondino fled his job as art director at the French ad giant Publicis.

Still, we're all very proud and entertained. Though it came out the same year as EBN-OZN's conceptually similar song, AEIOU, La Danse des mots lyrics are a stream of puns, word games, jeux de mots in French, put to rap. Which reminds me of Tom Tom Club's seminal "Wordy Rappinghood," which was already a hit in 1981.

So a tip of the beret to Jean-Baptiste Mondino, the father of the French rap music video. And with only a couple of [French] swear words in the lyrics, it makes for a fun, colorful watch for the kiddies.

Jean Baptiste Mondino - La Danse des Mots [youtube via the moment]

1 Comment

I'm confused. I know they do things differently over there, but isn't 1974 in France still 9 years *before* 1983 over here?

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