Over at PopMatters, Adrien Begrand breaks down the latest four sets of Directors Label series, and finds goodies on every DVD. Directors Label was conceived in 2003 as a forum for music video directors to showcase their work. Each volume is devoted to a specific director–the first three were Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and the mighty Michel Gondry–and includes an accompanying booklet with sketch drawings, storyboard art, interviews with the directors and more.
Even better, the filmmakers are allowed to design their packages, so that everything from the DVD menus to the format of the booklets looks tailor-made to suit the director being showcased. The directors choose which videos are included, and also generously include samples of commercials, short films, and video installations that they’ve done. No matter how commercial their original intent, music videos give us the most exposure to cinematic experimentation, wild juxtapositions, and the influence of the avant-garde. For that reason alone, they’re worth studying.
Personal recommendations: start with Gondry or Mark Romanek. Everything else can wait, but not those.