Bizarre book, bizarre movie!
Adapted from the surrealistic Boris Vian’s 1947 novel (Froth on the Daydream), Moon Indigo is a retro-futuristic lovestory taking place in a dreamscape Paris. It is the story of Colin (Romain Duris from The Spanish Apartment), a rich young inventor who falls madly in love with Chloé (Audrey Tautou from Amélie, Coco before Chanel and… The Spanish Apartment) a hypnotic woman suffering from a mysterious illness that can only be treated by surrounding her with flowers.
Beyond the fantasy images, this movie (as the novel) is first of all a vivid hommage to the Jazz Music. In fact, the influence of the 1930-1940’s Great Jazzmen is never far away. Duke Ellington in particular! The action starts with the Jazz standard Caravan and the heroine’s name is Chloé (an obvious tribute to the Duke’s song). The English title, Moon Indigo, is also the name of one of his many compositions. No wonder why a marvellous soundtrack keeps us company for 2 hours and pays homage to Jazz music as a key to the friendship between France and America! Another good point is the adaptation of the famous Pianocktail. Vian had imagined a piano producing a unique cocktail inspired by the notes played on the keyboard. Gondry « killed it »! It will make you feel like going wild in Saint-Germain in search of the perfect drink in the perfect club!
More generally, the story’s background is the Post-World War II French society (Jean-Paul Sartre’s caricature is remarkable and funny) but Michel Gondry chose the bias not to ignore the evolutions France went through this last half-century. This is why it is impossible not to mention the presence of Omar Sy (Nicolas in the movie: Colin’s lawyer, cook, chauffeur and friend) and Aïssa Maïga (Alise, his beautiful cousin) both two of the most celebrated French actors of African descent. If their positions as supporting actors will displease some (“They’re not even Black in the novel!” or “Why only a menial job for Omar Sy?”), I personally found their performances very solid.
Michel Gondry (one of the few French movie directors to have found his way to Hollywood with movies as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Be Kind Rewind) was THE man to adapt a story mixing a tribute to the African American culture (oh wait a second, he did a something with Dave Chappelle, right?) with an eccentric 20th century Parisian literary movement. Despite some aesthetic choices I didnt’ really appreciate (the dance scenes especially) , I strongly recommand the movie!
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