Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Save up to 70%
Empire
Film Studies 101
Empire Blogs
Words From The Wise

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2013: Mood Indigo

Posted on Monday July 8, 2013, 13:36 by Damon Wise in Words From The Wise
Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2013: Mood Indigo

That the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival began with the international premiere of Michel Gondry's surreal Mood Indigo and ended with a Jury Prize for Ben Wheatley's psychedelic A Field In England should give you an idea of how this year's event turned out. Though it didn't want for Hollywood names – Oliver Stone and John Travolta flew in to accept the annual Crystal Globe For Outstanding Contribution To World Cinema – KV proved once again to be a festival of discovery and a good place to root out international movies that can no longer find a berth at Cannes.

Mood Indigo was widely believed to be headed to the Riviera this year, until it was announced that it would be premiering in France almost a month before the festival started. The film was not a great success there, and it's not hard to see why its producers chose to keep it away from the Croisette – although it is frequently quite jaw-droppingly brilliant, Gondry's latest is somewhat relentless in its invention, and those not open to his DIY aesthetic may not be so partial to its brow-beating whimsy. I liked it, with some reservations, and I'm quite heartened to hear that the director may possibly be trimming some of its hefty 125-minute running time for the upcoming UK release.

It helps, even if you haven't read it, to know that Mood Indigo is based on Boris Vian's untranslatable 1947 novel L'Ecume Des Jours (literally The Foam Of The Day), a novel about a rich playboy called Colin (Romain Duris) who falls in love with the beautiful Chloe (Audrey Tautou), only to have his idyllic lifestyle shattered when she falls ill with a strange malady. This really all there is to it, since Gondry puts all his energies not into the narrative but into the weird and wonderful images that approximate Vian's wordplay. Colin lives in a berserk apartment which he shares with his manservant Nicolas (Omar Sy) and a mouse (which lives in a perfect small-scale replica of Colin's home), and the entire place is a W Heath Robinson illustration brought madly to life. And unusually for a film mired in surrealism, the visuals actually do live up to the intent; some memorable scenes include Colin and his friend Chick (Gad Elmaleh) enjoying a philosophy book in liquid form, and dancing “le biglemoi” – a slow, smoochy dance in which ones legs get longer and longer.

The film hits its high watermark at about an hour in, and never really comes down again. Which ought to sound like a compliment, but some decompression is needed, even just a breather. Instead, Mood Indigo just carries on and carries on, getting bleaker and bleaker and bleaker... Personally, I liked its ambition but this increasingly morbid second half will not appease anyone lured into the cinema by the presence of Tautou and a wacky premise that suggests a sequel of sorts to Amelie. Nevertheless, it will have its admirers, principally readers of cult French literature and hardcore Gondry fans with a stomach for something a little stronger than his usual.
 

Login or register to comment.

Currently No Comments

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (444)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Empire Goes To Jerusalem
By Will Lawrence

Screen To Stage: The Hobbit Stars
By Helen O'Hara

Screen To Stage: Shakespeare In Love
By Helen O'Hara

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
By Ali Plumb

Pete Docter And Jonas Rivera Talk Pixar's Inside Out
By James White

Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
By Dan Jolin

H. R. Giger: An Empire Tribute
By Ian Nathan

How Edible Cinema Finally Allows You To Eat A Movie
By Ali Plumb

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
By Helen O'Hara

Are iPads And Smartphones Changing The Face Of Filmmaking?
By Ben Kirby


RECENT COMMENTS

Chinese Propaganda Is Hitting Hollywood
"Purchase Reverbnation Plays"  tofifi808
Read comment

50 Shades Of What Now?
"Just thought I'd return to this as FSOG is now out at cinemas. I haven't read the books or seen the "  Cookiedough
Read comment

Empire Goes To Jerusalem
"Good blog I really like it."  silvermovies
Read comment

8 (Possible) Reasons John Carter Bombed At The Box Office
"The trailer gave me the feeling that this would be something of a 6+ family movie. And a guy on an e"  my5p
Read comment

Screen To Stage: Shakespeare In Love
"Have just re-watched this twice over the past few weeks and forgot how fantastic it was. I'm now des"  fire_and_water5025
Read comment

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"This looks unbelievably good... wish I could afford to go!"  Roo
Read comment

Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
"Nice to know Martin enlisted another author to help in his world-building. Time to get acquainted wi"  Imperion
Read comment

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"@Y2Nield.com The original Hogwarts section and what was duelling dragons (has now"  Sexual Harassment Panda
Read comment

Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
"Actually i recomend The Foucault Pendulum for several reasons, in the first place it explores the es"  andresfelipeurb
Read comment

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"A great sneak peek, Ali. Aside from your confusion as to where Diagon Alley/King's Cross and Hogsmea"  bruciebonus
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Movies’ Most Quotable Lines
566 comments

'It's Just A Bit Of Fun': Why Defensive Fans Are Bad News For Movies
361 comments

Competitive Geek Baiting: Or, How To Start A Fanboy Fight
338 comments

The Avatar Backlash: Evaluatin' The Hater-atin'
303 comments

The Complete List Of Tired Movie Cliches
286 comments

Your Favourite Animated Film
217 comments

Note To Hollywood: How To Get People To Switch To Blu-Ray
192 comments

Food For Thought
132 comments

The Ten Moviegoing Commandments
127 comments

Just The Facts, Ma’am
127 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (298)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (5)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Will Lawrence (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
40 Of The Unlikeliest Movie Character Posters
Would you put these one-sheets on your wall?

Who Is The Vision, Anyway?
An introduction to Avengers: Age Of Ultron's newest addition

Jenny Agutter: Role by Role
From Tin to Captain America to The Railway Children

80 Of The Best Movie Star Adverts
From Sly Stallone selling bread to Hugh Jackman dancing for iced tea

Matthew Weiner Reveals 7 Mad Men Secrets
The showrunner on The Beatles and that lawnmower

Empire's Avengers: Age Of Ultron Review
Our verdict on what could be the biggest film of the year...

The 15 Most Controversial Alternate Endings
How some of your favourite films could have finished...

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Subscribe now and save up to 70%

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe now and save up to 70%
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)