(LEcume des Jours)
Mood Indigo kicks in with one of the most bewilderingly strange openings in recent memory. We pass through Romain Duriss home where a man in a mouse suit (Sacha Bourdo) lives a perfect existence in miniature climbing up and down ladders to get to the sink and so on, even having a miniature glasshouse that the cook reaches down into for supplies. Meanwhile the cook, who is really a moonlighting lawyer (Omar Sy), gets aid from the head of a chef (Alain Chabat) that pops up to offer advice from tv screens everywhere and even hands him items out of the fridge. In trying to prepare the meal, both Romain Duris and Omar Sy are forced to try to catch eels as they pop in and out of the taps. The food is stop-motion animated while Duris and his guest Gad Elmaleh are served on a corrugated table and all the dishes are simply swept onto the floor when the next course comes. The doorbell is shaped like a mechanical bug that is constantly trying to scuttle away. Duris introduces Gad Elmaleh to one of his inventions the pianocktail, which creates a cocktail mix depending on the type of music one plays.
After the dreadful Hollywood venture of The Green Hornet, Mood Indigo cheerfully puts Michel Gondry back in the same frame as The Science of Sleep conducting a romance of sorts with all of the capriciously eccentric whimsy he can muster. Gondry is not terribly concerned about the plot, which is based on the classic French novel Froth on the Daydream (1947) by Boris Vian, more in serving up scene after scene of visual nonsense. Omar Sy takes Romain Duris to a party and teaches him a dance known as the biglemoi that involves something to do with them harmonising conflicting sound vibrations, which causes their dancing legs to become optically extended like a fairground trick mirror. In a charming scene, Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou conduct their first date by being flown across Paris in fairground bubble car that is attached to a crane and surrounded by fake clouds. At the marriage ceremony, the two couples must have a cart race through the cathedral to decide which pair will be the winner and be granted the honour of being the ones who are married, while the priest (Vincent Rottiers) gets inside a streamlined metal Jesus-shaped rocketship and flies about inside the church. After marrying, Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou depart in a see-through glass limousine. They stop in an open field for a picnic, which takes place with a dividing line down the middle of the screen where on one side it is sunny and perfectly fine and on the other Romain Duris sits in pouring rain. While Audrey Tautou is on the phone, she finds that the walls of her room have narrowed, while later they become circular where it is explained that music is making the room round. Characters are pursued through the streets by a giant-sized shadow, which is then run over by a car. Diners have the difficulty of food trying to escape from the plates or else collapsible furniture that instantly springs back into place. There is the wonderfully satiric image of Romain Duris getting a job in greenhouse that grows guns, which consists of human bodies lying on mounds of dirt where he is told that the warmth of the body is needed to keep the guns warm before they hatch Duris is later fired because the guns he hatches have a bad habit of drooping. As Audrey Tautou becomes ill, the apartment where they live starts becoming smaller, where it and the exteriors are overgrown in fungi and the colour tone dampens eventually to the point the entire film is in black-and-white.
You feel that this is a film in the pure auteur sense, one where the nominal romance proves to be at most a springboard for Michel Gondry to jump off into all the wild and eccentric imaginings in his head. Creativity for creativitys sake alone. It makes for an appealingly silly fantasy. Unfortunately for Gondry, the film ended up being a box-office flop.