It’s a match made in heaven: director Michel Gondry, master of cinematic bricolage, meets Boris Vian’s cult novel Froth on the Daydream , and the result is Mood Indigo. Romain Duris plays handsome, wealthy Colin, who lives in a lovely apartment with a factotum (Omar Sy from The Untouchables) so brilliant and accomplished he leaves Jeeves at the starting post. Colin’s friend Chick, avid collector of the books of celebrity philosopher Jean Sol Patre, falls in love, so Colin decides that he too wants a girlfriend, which is when he meets Chloe (Audrey Tautou). So far, so cute. But there’s heartbreak ahead.
Froth on the Daydream, first published in 1947, was described by Raymond Queneau as ‘the most heartbreakingly poignant modern love story ever written’. Gondry’s brand of dark romantic whimsy and penchant for lo-tech effects nail the writer’s jazzy invention, surreal flights of fancy, streaks of satire and wall-to-wall puns. Like the novel, the film starts off light-hearted, but there are signs all is not rosy in this world. As the characters are confronted by worsening health and financial crises, the film becomes darker and more melancholy. Mood Indigo is a rom-com haunted by death.
‘Gondry builds a beautifully busy alternate universe full of surprises’