My Influencial Director: Spike Jonze

This post is all about finding the Film Director that inspires me and that I potentially would like to emulate. However, finding which film director influences me is proving a hard task. I do have my favorite directors, Pedro Almodovar, Spielberg, Tarantino, so the challenge for me was to find a contemporary one. After some deep soul-searching, I think I finally found my significant film Director: Spike Jonze. He is a multi-facet director, not only working in films but also in music videos, advertisements, and short films. I guess what fascinates me about his work, is not only his story telling abilities but his visual work with both films and music videos. Music Videos always fascinated me, the free flow of creativity combined with music it something that I always loved and remember watching MTV for a few hours, fascinated by it. So enters Spike Jonze, his career started as a music video Director in 1992, where he shoot a music video for the band Sonic Youth (, throughout the 90’s he directed several music videos for important and influential musicians (Beastie Boys, Bjork, REM). His Directorial feature film debut came in 1999 with “Being John Malkovich”.




I remember watching “Being John Malcovich” (1999) and being fascinated with the story, the quirkiness and inventive way Jonze created this world of being in someone else skin. The film is described as a magic realism comedy, which is a term that I find it very curious. In my own films, I want to explore the human emotions and the absurdity of it. And I think this description of this films, nail it what I want to create. “Being John Malkovich” tells the story of puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) and his wife Lotte Schwartz (Cameron Diaz) struggling to make end meet and going through the motions of their marriage. When Craig is forced into an office job, he accidentally finds a portal into the actor John Malkovich’s head. And from that point on, they take in turns to enters the actor mind and for 15 minutes be the actor. This is certainly a good piece of entertainment and a very imaginative and well-written script. Roger Ebert review at the time “Rare is the movie where the last half hour surprises you just as much as the first, and in ways you’re not expecting” (




This was Spike Jonze first feature film, and many say his masterpiece. His work with writer Charlie Kaufman is certainly inventive and they go on to collaborate again in “Adaption” (2002). However is with “Her” (2013) that his style really fascinates me, the use of color, the floating camera and how he places his actors to tell a story. In “Her”, his reflection on loneliness is somewhat beautiful, making the ordinary look extraordinary. Jacob T. Swinney calls Jonze style: “The aesthetics of the whimsy”, “Making the most out of simple elements such as lens flares, floating camera movement, centered framing, and wide-angle close-ups, Jonze creates an atmosphere that appears to be lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale storybook. His camera is fascinated with the mundane” (




It is a shame that I can’t find much on his visual style, other than interviews, reviews and film fans/critics video essays. As I start diving into his world, this will be a journey on how to create an interesting visual in everyday life. Making the mundane look interesting is definitely something that I am interested in. A reflection of what makes humans so unique in expressing emotions or concealing it. Spike Jonze career will definitely inspire me to be more inventive, not only as a film Director but also as a screenwriter. Let the journey begins …


Webliography Editors (2015) – “Spike Jonze Biography” (Retrieved January 2nd, 2017)


Ebert, R. (1999) – “BEING JOHN MALKOVICH” (Retrieved January 2nd, 2017)


T. Swinney, J. (2015) – “Watch: What Makes Spike Jonze Movies Unique? A Video Essay” ( Retrieved January 2nd, 2017)



Jonze, Spike

Being John Malkovich” (1999)

Adaptation” (2002)

Her” (2013)


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