Mood Indigo  

by director/co-writer Michel Gondry

The memory of reading L'Écume des jours has had an influence on many of my films, especially the music videos I made for Bjork, but also in some aspects of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind. It became part of the vocabulary I used unconsciously, while discovering the filmmaking process. Today, it comes naturally to me, coming up with visual solutions—ideas to materialize the world of Boris Vian. It's as if all those years of filming had been a slow preparation for making Mood Indigo.

I wanted to use the minimum amount of digital technology to create the visual effects in Mood Indigo, a spirit which I consider true to Vian and the jazz ethos of the book—I wanted to improvise from the melodic line the novel offered. The struggle was that I could not do things by halves. The pianocktail (Colin’s invention that mixes a cocktail based on which piano keys are depressed), Colin’s apartment shrinking, the arms factories, streets and cars without time (an antiquated futurism) had to exist and function. We had to create a world, a Paris from scratch, which was both imaginary and credible.

I worked in a very specific direction, focusing on emotion and purity of the narrative. The story is full of life, joy and innocence, but also of nihilism and denial. The equilibrium is unstable, difficult to find and maintain, but that was the quest I was set on in recreating the fantastic world of Vian.

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