Highly charming and intensely creative, “My New New York Diary: A Film-Book” by graphic artist Julie Doucet and director Michel Gondry merges graphic novel with cinematic storytelling. The book comes packaged with a DVD, and both are a necessary accompaniment to the other to help tell the tale of Gondry’s meeting with Doucet.
The French director proposed to make a film that would make Doucet the center of the story as she had done before with her autobiographical comic-book novel “My New York Diary,” but with her drawings as the film’s setting and vehicle. As they talked, the process of making the 20-minute film ended up as its very plot.
“My New New York Diary” begins with Doucet talking to Gondry from her home in Montreal before meeting and staying with him in NYC, where they film her in front of a blue screen. She buys a digital recorder and records her observations on everything from Gondry’s quarrels with his housemate to her reluctance at acting in her own story.
After a few days in New York, Doucet returned back to Canada, where she did dozens of drawings. Gondry edited everything, including her narration, and turned her drawings into something live—a talent he previously exemplified so well with “Science of Sleep.”
“My New New York Diary” is perhaps best experienced in the order it was packaged—starting first the book, then with the DVD tucked into the back cover—to truly see how two artists breathe life into their individual mediums.