Michel Gondry is one of those filmmakers I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, his whimsical hand-crafted aesthetics work well against the bleak, comedic sensibilities of his too-infrequent collaborator Charlie Kaufman. But without Kaufman’s pessimistic guidance, Gondry doesn’t make films as much as he makes really elaborate Etsy projects that curdle into an insufferable pile of cutesy.
“Mood Indigo” looks to be Gondry’s most insufferably, cutesy Etsy project to date. Based on Boris Vian’s surprisingly nuanced novel, “Mood Indigo” takes place in world in which characters are living incarnations of Duke Ellington songs, people travel around on fluffy clouds and women can actually die from poignantly whimsical ailments like having a water lily grow in their chest.
To be fair, the novel’s too-precious-by-half qualities were mitigated somewhat by the hopelessness of the later chapters. Will Gondry have the courage to go down the eventual dark route of the book? It’s hard to say. What isn’t hard to say is that, from the looks of the trailer, most of the film’s budget appears to have been blown on cotton balls, contact paper and cardboard. Hopefully, “Mood Indigo” won’t be the cloying hipster diorama it appears to be.