Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

Be Kind Rewind 2007

Directed by Michel Gondry

When all the tapes in their store get wiped, Jack Black and Mos Def set out to remake every movie. Directed by Michel Gondry. "A hundred minutes of sweet-natured idiocy." — Financial Times

USA In English
101 minutes 35mm / CinemaScope

Director, Screenplay


Jeff Buchanan


Ellen Kuras


Jean-Michel Bernard


Jack Black
Mos Def
Danny Glover
Mia Farrow
Melonie Diaz
Chandler Parker
Irv Gooch
Arjay Smith
Marcus Carl Franklin
Blake Hightower
Amir Ali Said
Sigourney Weaver


Sundance, Berlin 2008


Fun and inventiveness come so effortlessly to writer/director Michel Gondry (The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) that with each new work of goofy, retrograde surrealism he reminds us how much those virtues are missing from mainstream American movies. And in Be Kind Rewind - which has a plot so flimsy it's almost a blouse - Gondry has the audacity to turn that observation into a premise. This time around, Jerry (Jack Black) is a deranged and paranoid dreamer in blue-collar Passaic, New Jersey, whose wacky scheme to sabotage the local power substation results in an almighty zapping. When Jerry pops into the corner video store - yes, video; the new-fangled DVD is banned - run by his friend Mike (a delightfully doleful Mos Def), his magnetised brain erases their entire stock. In order to satisfy the store's most loyal renter, the two friends set out to remake the lost films, starting, improbably, with Ghostbusters, and progressing to Rush Hour II, The Lion King, Driving Miss Daisy and any number of turkeys and classics. Pretty soon, punters are queuing around the block for Mike and Jerry's amateur remakes.

The homemade aesthetic we have come to expect from Gondry is in full swing here with oodles of cardboard costumes and ingeniously mocked-up sets, but what takes this beyond whimsy are the affectionately drawn characters, who you'll be cheering for by the end. Underlying the japes is a shambling critique of corporate Hollywood and a plug for grass-roots filmmaking, but really, Gondry is no preacher. His films deliver wondrous, childlike escapism - which Be Kind has in spades. — BZ