WeTransfer and the Gondry Brothers Made a Surreal Animated Video for Idles' New Song

Pigs wield chainsaws, ride rockets and behave like boors

Pigs behave like boorish, violent humans in "Model Village," a bizarre animated video for the new single of the same name by British punk band Idles. Michel and Olivier Gondry directed the cartoon film, which was produced by WePresent, the editorial platform of file-sharing service WeTransfer. 

The four-minute clip plays out like a whimsically demented fable for adults. Oinkers scurry headless through the streets, wreak havoc with a ginormous chainsaw, and explore a world composed of multicolored meds:

Fresh off his Burger King cow-farts musical, filmmaker Michel Gondry (Mood Indigo, The Green Hornet), an Oscar winner for co-writing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, spent weeks in an L.A. studio creating intricate, storybook-style paper cutouts for the project. Working in Paris, his brother Olivier brought the illustrations to life through the magic of technology.

The Gondrys and Idles frontman Joe Talbot view the song and video as commentaries on small-mindedness, conformity and groupthink. They discuss their approach in this making-of clip:

"I hated growing up in a city that was really a town that was really a fishbowl," Talbot says. "I left as soon as I could, only to realize the fishbowl didn't exist ... just the fish, and they're everywhere."

The singer long dreamed of working with the Gondrys, who drew considerable acclaim with their 2003 music video for "Star Guitar" by the Chemical Brothers. Michel also directed well-remembered videos for the White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl" and Daft Punk's "Around the World."

"Olivier and I were excited to work on this because we use completely opposite techniques," says Michel Gondry. "I work with a primitive system of cutting paper and moving it under the lens frame by frame. Olivier then transforms it by morphing, warping and CGI."

WePresent story editor Liv Siddall calls the project "something beautiful and clever in uncertain times, which reminds us of the importance and power of creativity and collaboration."

"Model Village" represents WeTransfer's latest musical excursion, following innovative content plays with FKA twigs, Björk, 88 Rising and Grimes. Such sophisticated branded entertainment shows the company taking stylistic chances. Doing so reflects the goals and values of its customers, many of whom use WeTransfer products to refine and share their own artistic visions.
 
You can read more about the Idles/Gondry project here.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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