movies get really bad, I can usually rely on a French movie to remind me
that it is still possible to make a film based on character and ideas.
Alas, Mood Indigo is not one of those French movies.
a phantasmagorically bilious movie. There is more reality in a Donald
Duck cartoon than there is in this film directed by Michel Gondry based
on a 1947 novel by Boris Vian, recently voted number ten on Le Mondeís
list of the 100 Books of the Century. Vian was a quintessentially
avant-garde Frenchie, a friend of existentialists Simone de Beauvoir,
Jean-Paul Sartre (who is referenced in the film as philosopher ďJean-Sol
PartreĒ), and Albert Camus (although Camus generally denied he was an
existentialist), and his odd books, like this one, reflect that. Just as
an example of the morality of these people, Beauvoir was in a life-long
relationship with Sartre, but she liked women. Several accusations
against her by the parents of underage girls she seduced caused her to
have her license to teach in France permanently suspended. After that,
she and Sartre developed a method they called ďtrioĒ in which Beauvoir
would have her way with a young woman and then pass her along to Sartre.
Gondryís film of Vianís book. It takes surrealism to the nth degree as
virtually everything defies not only logic but physics. There is one
dance in which the characters are dancing in positions not possible
unless one suspends the law of gravity. It is truly ugly.
Although it is supposed to be a love story between Colin (Romain Duris)
and Chloť (Audrey Tatou), their world, the devices in it, and the
physics under which they live are so preposterous itís difficult to
develop any empathy. Colinís apartment responds to his emotions,
shrinking, expanding, and changing light as his emotions change.
plot device is that after they fall in love and marry, Chloť falls ill
with the diagnosis that there is a water lily growing in her lung. The
doctor (played by director Gondry) says that the only way to cure it is
to place a never-ending supply of flowers on her chest so their perfume
can kill the lily.
is running out of money trying to cure her, and the only job he can get
is to take off all his clothes and lie on a pile of dirt which in some
incomprehensible manner is the way to build a funny-looking gun. Thereís
a scene with many naked men lying on piles of dirt for 24 hours at a
time. Colin is told that they canít use women for the job because their
chests arenít flat enough, or something like that.
are scenes and incidents like this throughout the movie. If this is the
kind of bizarre nonsense that appeals to you (as it apparently has
appealed to lots of Frenchies and Le Monde), be my guest. As for
me, this is one of the longest 94-minute films Iíve ever had to endure.
In French, color, and black & white.