This is the surreal and poetic story of a young idealistic and inventive man, Colin, who meets Chloe, a young woman who could be the incarnation of a blues piece by Duke Ellington. Their idyllic marriage turns to bitterness when Chloe falls ill due to a water lily that’s growing in her lung. To pay for his care in a fantasyland Paris, Colin must work under increasingly absurd conditions while all around them their apartment deteriorates and their group of friends, including the talented Nicolas and Sartre fanatic Chick disintegrate.
Everything is in here in this synopsis that’s as intriguing as it is vast. From a colored visual poem the film turns slowly to depression in black and white throughout a scenario based on the novel by Boris Vian (“L’écume des jours”) that’s dissected and tweaked and then sublimated by a Michel Gondry whom we had not seen as inventive and fanatical of machinery of all kinds ever since his music video days (for the singer Björk, among others) and his film “the Science of Sleep.”
The sets of “Mood Indigo” are breathtaking, the frame-by-frame animations and projections replacing certain elements, one is overwhelmed with images, ideas, words and a fear of blinking lest we miss a single visual spark.
Along this joyful mess in which an antique dealer would not find his way, the actors give the impression of playing hopscotch and doing street-theater. They seem to have fun, improvise, bounce and discover along with the audience this spooky world which constantly changes as the environment and the mood are evolving.
Boris Vian’s novel and Michel Gondry were made to meet, because the result is simply astounding.