I decided to watch L’Écume des Jours (Mood Indigo) for three reasons: it’s French (I’m trying to learn this beautiful language with the help of cinema), it stars Audrey Tautou (she’s from Amelie which is one of my all time favourite films ever) and the film is directed and written by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a terrific film and is thus another of my favourites). So here’s what I thought…
My goodness, what a bizarrely surreal and poetical film. In Mood Indigo everything is extremely unusual, the visuals are mind blowing and the characters are so absurd it’s brilliant. The story takes place in a world so unlike ours, where everything seems to be alive and the people a larger than life itself. For the duration of the film, we follow the relationship of Colin (Romain Duris) and Chloé (Audrey Tautou) from its awkward inception at a friends party to the bittersweet end. It’s so strange (but reassuring) how a storyline so simple and generic as love could be made into such a groundbreaking and stunning piece of cinema, and it just goes to show it’s not what you do but how you do it that sets things apart (another unusual love story that comes to mind is the inventive 500 Days of Summer).
Early on in the film, Colin is jealous of his two closest friends Nicolas (played supremely by Omar Sy) and Chick having found love, he boldly stands up and proclaims “I demand to fall in love, too!” I found this small moment quite interesting as we as humans seem to feel as if it’s our absolute right to find love when in reality to find true love is pure luck, coincidence and a matter of being in the right place at the right time. This is expressed quite well when Colin meets Chloé, Colin had to be invited by Nicolas who just so happened to be romantically involved with the Hostess Isis. All these coincidences and chances lead to the beautiful romance the two main characters shared. Perhaps the secret is to demand it after all as surely then we would actively seek love?
Overall this film is stunning and so quirky that I don’t want to give too much of it away in this review (everything you need to know is in the Trailer). So if you love French Cinema starring likeable leads in a story that is utterly surreal then have a watch, if not well you’re missing out on one of the most interesting films of the 21st Century.
I give this film: ****
Also, check out my other World Cinema Reviews!