LIKE THE GRAY MIST that sits over the woods of rural France where much of The Thorn in the Heart is filmed, memory is a vague but undeniable thing—hanging over us, constantly changing, and always coloring our view of the world.
Though he's made a truckload of stunning music videos and a handful of fantastic films (The Science of Sleep, Dave Chappelle's Block Party), director Michel Gondry remains most famous for 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—so it's hardly surprising that he's intimately familiar with the impact memories can have. Thorn, his latest, is a semi-autobiographical portrait of the Gondry family matriarch, Aunt Suzette; largely consisting of Suzette's straightforward reminiscences, the film is frequently funny, occasionally heartbreaking, and way more entertaining than any film about an old lady talking about the good old days should be. And since it's a Gondry film, it's imaginative, heartfelt, and effortlessly engaging: Splicing together newly shot interviews with old home movies, and with careful application of a few lo-fi special effects, Gondry's film is sweet, melancholy, and impressively intimate. It's a movie about Suzette, about the Gondrys, about childhood, and about ghosts—ghosts of people, of long-past events, and of the oft-changed buildings that Suzette returns to, remembering where she once taught schoolchildren.
The Thorn in the Heart is very good, and you should see it; you should also see it this Saturday at the Hollywood, when Gondry will do a Q&A after the first screening and introducing the second. As his IMDb page—and The Thorn in the Heart—proves, Gondry's simply one of the most original and affecting filmmakers working today. Seeing Thorn would be recommended under any circumstance; doing so with Gondry in attendance is—well, you shouldn't even still be reading this. Just get your tickets already.