It’s a wild cop out to argue that you need to ”buy into the world” of Mood Indigo. While true, such suspension of disbelief is required for all fictional cinema – a film must convince you to do such a thing in order to become an immersive experience. In this respect there’s something of Godard in Gondry’s latest, far beyond the obvious stylistic influences. While this auteur has more of an interest in plot than the New Wave pioneer, much of Mood Indigo inevitably becomes second to the visual inventiveness rather than always being a productive assistant to the narrative. You might laugh and be impressed with the sheer creativity, but you might also think “what’s the point in this?”. It’s a film replete with flaws, almost erratically sewn together and technically disjointed but as much as I dwell on these obvious observations, I still remain adored by it.
There’s poetic simplicity beneath all the rabid Gondry-ness in a touchingly timeless story on love and loss that amuses, charms and devastates. How it transforms tonally is remarkably extraordinary, from the sweet blossoming romance between Colin (Romain Duris) and Chloé (Audrey Tautou) to the blossoming flower that lands in Chloé’s lung and slowly begins killing her. Both sections are distinctly effective, especially the stirring final act where more weight is brought with a genuine sadness and an anti-capitalistic commentary on addiction and consumerism. It’s vibrant, striking and alive work from a man displaying complete confidence in his craft. Unquestionably memorable – whether insufferably or delightfully – it’s quirky to preposterous proportions and regularly borders on overbearing, but for me doesn’t hit its irritability ceiling.
MichelGondry truly has created the Michel Gondry film here, for better or worse. His conceits bring the divisiveness that make film festivals such an enjoyable experience, where everyone’s heated subjectivity creates a wonderfully constructive atmosphere for discussion, influence and enlightenment. I went into the screening wanting and expecting to like it and can’t say that this didn’t happen. My heart drives me towards my star rating – just like Gondry’s drove him to make this touching film. If nothing else, you’ve watched Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou for 98 minutes (maybe even 131 minutes!) doing something with, yes, a bit more substance than in their Spanish Apartment trilogy. So how bad can it have really been?
This is a review of the 98 minute cut screened at Glasgow Film Festival 2014. I would obviously like to see the longer, 131 minute cut.