Michel Gondry’s “Mood Indigo,” which opened in France yesterday, stars Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris as the newlyweds Chloé and Colin, whose nuptial bliss is ruined when they discover during their honeymoon that she has a water lily growing in her right lung.
ARTINFO reported here on Gondry’s bid to film Boris Vian’s “unfilmable” 1947 Surrealistic novel “Froth on the Daydream.” Judging by the first subtitled trailer (below), which comes courtesy of Deadline, Gondry has visualized the story with the same brand of antic Surrealism he brought to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Science of Sleep,” as well as his unforgettable Bjork videos. (See Gondry's website here.)
It combines both the floral profusion demanded by the story – Chloé can only survive by being surrounded by flowers – and a Rube Goldberg approach to Colin’s invention of the “pianocktail,” which enables the playing of tunes to mix fabulous drinks.
With maximizing box-office receipts in mind, the trailer offers only the barest hint of the novel’s tragic trajectory. Similarly, only the shot in which Colin’s friend Chick (Gad Elmaleh) holds up a prized paperback in front of him him indicates that Gondry has engaged with Vian’s parodying of Jean-Paul Sartre. (The novel’s “Jean-Sol Partre” is played by Philippe Torreton.)
A trailer is a trailer – an unreliable taste intended to entice, no more. Reviewing the film for Variety, Boyd van Hoeji was not enthusiastic about it, criticizing it as “often inventive but finally exhausting” and “emotionally stunted” and lacking “the requisite sense of tragedy.”
He added that it “frequently privileges art direction over emotion, and a constant sense of wonder based on visuals alone proves impossible to sustain over the lengthy 130-minute runtime.”
Nonetheless, “Mood Indigo” looks like a must-see. It takes its title from the Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard song, Chloé being described by the jazz promoter Vian as “a girl like a Duke Ellington tune.” Not calling it “Froth on a Daydream” costs it a title as sublimely lyrical as “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” “Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day,” or, for that matter, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
Deadline reports that Studiocanal, which financed “Mood Indigo,” is “close to a deal with a U.S. distributor.”
Below: "Mood Indigo" trailer