The Basics: Sofia Coppola Does Gymnastics For Spike Jonze And The Chemical Brothers

It's Elektrobank, one of the great Spike Jonze videos.

Dig Your Own Hole - one hell of an album. The second album by the electronic duo The Chemical Brothers, it's probably the last truly great album of the 90s. And it gave us one of the best music videos ever, Spike Jonze's short film for Elektrobank.

Jonze was still a year or so off from making Being John Malkovich, and he was already one of the all-time legendary music video directors, with gems like Buddy Holly and Sabotage under his belt. His 1995 short film for Daft Punk's Da Funk - where Charlie the Dog Boy moves to New York City and gets lonely - is without a doubt a high point in the history of the form, but there's something about the simplicity of Elektrobank that moves me. Don't get me wrong - Charlie's tale is incredibly affecting, but Elektrobank removes all the weirdness and irony of Jonze's past work and just gets down to basic, strong visual storytelling. It's just the story of a gymnast in a competition - not some sort of world championship, either - as she takes to the mat and does her routine. It's streamlined, with very little dialogue, and once the music kicks in it's just the routine, with cutaways to give us a sense of the relationships and histories of the characters. But it's all sketched lightly against the backdrop of this one performance. It is almost perfect visual storytelling.

Sofia Coppola, also on the verge of her directorial debut (The Virgin Suicides) plays the gymnast. It's a strong, silent performance. She and Jonze would be married in 1999... and divorced in 2003. Some believe that the films Lost in Translation and Her both sprung from the divorce. Wherever they all ended up, this video is a wonderful starting point.