Mood Indigo

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday November 13, 2014

Mood Indigo

Renaissance man Boris Vian wrote novels in the period after WWII when the dark, menacing and subjective expressionism that was popular before the war evolved into an absurd, self-centered and still subjective reaction to positivism. All of this mirrored the century's most popular philosophy, existentialism. Vian at once champions existentialism and mocks it in his magical parody of the love story "l'Ecume des Jours" ("Froth on a Daydream").

Michel Gondry (the imaginative, Academy Award nominated, French director who brought us "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "The Science of Sleep") illustrates Vian's satire with every film trick he can imagine, set against the music of Duke Ellington. His inventive cinematic retelling is called "Mood Indigo."

Colin (the beautiful and wide-eyed Romain Duris, "The Beat That My Heart Skipped") lives a magical life in a surreal Paris. With no need to work, he spends his days inventing fanciful contraptions like the pianocktail (a cocktail making piano). He's independently wealthy, has an apartment that instinctually caters to his every need and has a trusty personal chef, Nicholas (Omar Sy, "X-Men: Days of Future Past"), who prepares him otherworldly cuisine. What he doesn't have is companionship and he feels left out, because everyone he knows seems to be coupled. So he decides to fall in love.

Colin decides to marry, but on the night of the wedding Chloe is infected with a strange disease: A water lily begins to grow in her lungs. Though Colin spends his fortune trying to save her life (she requires an endless supply of fresh cut flowers to treat her), she eventually succumbs to the illness. Colin is thrown into such despair that his world desaturates and even his apartment decays around him.

In the subplot, Colin's friend Chick (Gad Elmaleh, "Midnight in Paris") becomes obsessed with the philosopher Jean-Sol Partre (a play on Jean-Paul Sartre). He must own everything the philosopher has written of even touched, (an encyclopedia of Nausea and a rare volume bound in Nothingness). Chick's girlfriend becomes so jealous that she kills Partre and burns his library.

Gondry incorporates not only CGI but almost every in-camera film effect discovered in the 20th Century.

Gondry (whose works of visual splendor include many music videos and high-end television commercials) incorporates not only CGI, but almost every in-camera film effect discovered in the 20th Century: Fast and slow motion, jump cuts, backward motion, and a lot of stop-motion animation -- not to mention the big effect, the gradual evolution from vivid color to a stark black and white.

This two Blu-ray disc collection contains the American theatrical cut and the original extended cut, plus several behind-the-scenes featurettes: On Michel Gondry, the set creation, the costumes, the adaptation from the novel and more. There is a 20-page booklet, the theatrical trailer and deleted scenes - among them the devastating revelation of what happened to Colin's pet mouse. (The rodent [played by a man in a mouse suit] became so despairing that he committed suicide by offering himself up to a cat.)

"Mood Indigo"

Blu-ray / Digital HD

Not Rated / 94 min. (Theatrical Version) 131 min. (Extended Cut)


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