In anticipation of his latest film, “Where the Wild Things Are,” the Museum of Modern Art kicked off the cheekily titled “Spike Jonze: The First 80 Years” yesterday, the first ever retrospective of the director’s work. The series runs until October 18.
From MoMA’s description of the series: “Few filmmakers can claim to have earned the undying love and respect of skateboarders and rappers, a beloved children’s book author, and scholars of Lacan and Derrida. But Jonze’s reputation as one of the most imaginative, intelligent, and daring filmmakers working today was established early on with his legendary skateboard videos, music videos, and commercials, and has since been cemented by three features: ‘Being John Malkovich’ (1999), ‘Adaptation’ (2002), and ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ (2009).”
“Has anybody been as ubiquitous along the post-Nirvana alterna-indie-hipster continuum as Spike Jonze?” asks the Village Voice’s Nick Pinkerton. “Hype Williams (where’s that retro?) led the charge of video directors segueing to feature filmmaking. Jonze followed, then Tarsem, and Gondry. With ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Adaptation,’ director Jonze retrospectively seems to be the enabler for screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. Maurice Sendak provided the skeleton of ‘Wild Things,’ but this movie is fully Jonze’s.”
Benjamin Strong for The L Magazine: “The respect of serious cinephiles hasn’t come easily to Jonze and some still begrudge him; but belated recognition does seem finally to have arrived. Expect the second 80 years to be just as fruitful.”
The New York Press has an interview with MoMA’s associate curator Josh Siegel, who programmed the retrospective.
More on the series from Slash Film.
A photo from last night’s discussion with Jonze and “Wild Things” author Maurice Sendak.