The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

A beautiful descent from sparkling champagne into the blues

with 15 comments

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Normally I don’t sprinkle my reviews with screenshots from movies. I use words to share thoughts, not images. I also want my blog to be user friendly, which means keeping it small and easy to load, even if you’re not on a network. But as I’m now sitting down to write about Michel Gondry’s new movie Mood Indigo, I’m a bit at a loss of how to do it. Because all I want to do is to share the visuals.dagarnasskum3

There isn’t one but hundreds of images in my head and I want to show every one of them to you, but as I google I only find a handful of screenshots to share and no one of them makes the experience of this movie justice. I think back of the doorbells that are shaped as beetles and come alive, running like crazy whenever someone rings the door. The transformation of people whenever they dance into rubber figures with long legs that gracefully bends in every direction. And the food, oh the food, that lives a life of its own. And there’s the mouse pet that looks like a human not to mention all the crazy inventions, such as the drink machine that turns music into drinks, different depending on what you play.

A crazy party
The first half of the movie is just one long visual crazy party. It’s like having sparkling champagne straight into your veins (well not exactly, but how we imagine it). I was giggling inside with delight at every new trick that was pulled and I just couldn’t stop. And for this only, this movie is well worth to see, if you manage to come across it. From what I’ve heard it hasn’t gotten distribution in US yet. Perhaps it sounds a little bit too foreign and strange to apply to a wider audience.
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The later part of the movie is a different creature. The loving couple that we’ve been following runs into trouble when the woman, played by Audrey Tautou (Of course! Who else would you expect in a movie as quirky as this one?), turns ill. She’s got a waterlily growing in her chest and there seems to be a magic relation between that flower and the rest of the world, because everything else in their life gets miserable. They run out of money, the house is falling apart and step by step the movie loses the colour and playfulness until we’ve reached a point where it starts to resemble to Winter’s Bone and it all ends on a sad note.

Based on Vian
It’s a dreamy, surrealistic movie, a fairy tale like world wheredagarnasskum5 inexplicable things happen. Those who have read the book it’s based on, a novel by the French author Boris Vian, say that the adaptation is faithful to the original. I came into the film blank. I hadn’t read the book and I knew nothing about Vian and the life he lead among other intellectuals in Paris in the 40s. Because of this I think I suspect that I’m missing out some of the references.

There is a spoof character that is making fun of Jean-Paul Sartre, I get that much. But it’s been too long since I read him to catch all the details.  Reading up on it after watching the movie I learned that Vian was an admirer of Sartre, but eventually had his marriage destroyed because of him. This fact puts that part of the story into a slightly different light.

As evident by this post you don’t need to know anything at all about Vian to love this movie. However I think it helps if you’ve got a childish taste for fireworks of imagination and if for instance the idea of a door bell nervously running up and down the wall makes you chuckle. If not, you might find it a little bit thin on story.

Mood Indigo (Lécume des jours, Michel Gondry FR 2013) My rating : 4/5

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Written by Jessica

January 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

Posted in Mood Indigo

15 Responses

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  1. Had never heard of this one before, Jessica! Sounds wonderful. Great post.

    fernandorafael

    January 12, 2014 at 3:06 am

    • No, there has been very little buzz about it, despite the fact that so many people really love Eternal Sunshine. It’s not quite on that level, it’s not a movie I’d love to return to many times. But the ride is still beautiful.

      Jessica

      January 12, 2014 at 9:40 am

  2. I really want to see this film as I love Michel Gondry though I heard this new version he released is shorter than the original version he premiered last year.

    ninvoid99

    January 12, 2014 at 5:54 am

    • The version I saw was the shortened one. I have no idea about what they took away so I can’t tell if it’s a loss or not. In any case I hope you’ll get to see it, if nothing else to enjoy the first gorgeous half of it.

      Jessica

      January 12, 2014 at 9:39 am

  3. I hadn’t heard a thing about this until now, Jessica. As a fan if Gondry’s stuff, I’ll definitely be checking it out. It looks and sounds very special indeed… My kind of film.

    Mark Walker

    January 12, 2014 at 11:27 am

    • There really hasn’t been a lot of talk about it. It might be a little bit too weird and unconventional for the mainstream audience. And people who go to festivals and arthouse cinemas will find it anyway, provided it gets distribution to that kind of places. Still: I think it’s a little strange that it’s such a secret, considering how popular Eternal Sunshine is. I hope you’ll get the chance to see it.

      Jessica

      January 12, 2014 at 11:37 am

  4. The Interesting thing with Gondry is that besides The Eternal… he hasn’t done anything I really like and still I find myself fascinated by him. L’Écume des jours sounds a bit like La Science des rêves where the visuals were hilarious and breathtakingly beautiful at the same time. He has a curious mind and eye, that one…

    Sofia

    January 12, 2014 at 11:37 am

    • I’m not all that familliar with him tbh. I can’t recall seeing anything else by him, apart from The Eternal. But after seeing this I’ getting curious about seeing other of his films. I really, really enjoyed the visuals and for this I recommend this film.

      Jessica

      January 12, 2014 at 11:42 am

  5. Did not know this one was out yet, seems like a very interesting film.

    Nostra

    January 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    • It’s out in Sweden, but it seems to have gotten a pretty limited distribution so far.

      Jessica

      January 14, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      • Yeah, have to keep checking the movies playing and see if I can catch it

        Nostra

        January 14, 2014 at 11:10 pm

  6. I tend to like Gondry when someone else is writing the screenplay (i.e., Eternal Sunshine). When he does both, I find that his visual style gets away from him and as amazing as his films look, there’s nothing there to grab on to. It rather sounds like this is like that as well, but if the visuals are as fantastic as you say, it might be worth a look anyway.

    Jandy

    January 14, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    • You might very well feel that way about this. There isn’t all that much to grab on to, but I suspect that’s something hat comes from the original book. Still: the visuals in the first half are spectacular. I enjoyed them immensly.

      Jessica

      January 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

  7. […] Mood Indigo The first half of the movie is just one long visual crazy party. It’s like having sparkling champagne straight into your veins […]


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