Besides Catherine Deneuve, other sold-out events at the recent Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York City were appearances of Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) who discussed his latest “Mood Indigo” (“L’écume des jours”) which he directed and co-wrote. Before the film Gondry said the film is “based on an iconic French novel [“Foam of the Daze” by Boris Vian] I grew up reading”.
Romain Duris (“The Beat That My Heart Skipped”) plays Colin, a rich bachelor who has invented a “pianococktail”, a piano that makes drinks to the music played, one of the many imaginative sequences in “Mood Indigo”. Colin meets Chloé (Audrey Tautou, “Amélie”) at a party and they fall blissfully in love.
Throughout the film, the prodigious imagination of Michel Gondry, whose career began with music videos and commercials, has provided many ingenious images, particularly effective in showing the euphoria of the romance between Colin and Chloé. A particularly clever scene shows them sitting on a moving cloud.
Duris and Tautou, who costarred in a film trilogy that began with “”L’auberge Espagnole”, have a good on-screen chemistry. The talented cast includes Omar Sy (“The Intouchables”) as Colin’s chef and Gad Elmaleh (the detective in “Midnight in Paris”) as his friend. Gondry plays a doctor.
The film darkens with melancholy when Chloé becomes ill after a water lily grows in her lung. While the film has a thin plot, Gondry’s visual creativity and the charm of the cast keep it engaging.
After the screening, Gondry said the book on which his “Mood Indigo” is based, which he read 40 years ago when a teenager, “reads closely to the movie” and is on the “edge of surrealism.” He added that while making the film, “memories came back to me.”
Gondrey said that his star Audrey Tautou is a “unique personality”, both “strong and fragile.”
He said that while directing, it is “difficult to focus on everything at same time” and that he brings his own “feelings and concerns” to the film. Gondry described himself as “not too anal with blocking.”
In “Mood Indigo”, Gondry said he wanted to create a world which is “not too nostalgic”, where “everything is possible.” He added that the film’s source novel is “equally visual.”