Get in the mood for Mood Indigo

International films are often met with skepticism by some viewers, who tend to stay away from movies in different languages. Admittedly, there is a certain degree of movie-magic lost when forced to stare at subtitles the entire time. Though, after a while, you become accustomed to it, and finally you are able to focus on the images too. Mood Indigo is a movie that is worth any of that initial frustration.

A French romantic drama directed by Michel Gondry, known for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Mood Indigo was released in 2013. The movie was adapted from Boris Vian’s 1947 novel Froth on the Daydream, and it won the Best Production Design award at France’s Cesar Awards, while being nominated for two other awards as well.

The film takes place in a surreal Paris where cocktails are made by playing pianos and cooking teachers are kept in a television in the oven. In this vision of Paris, a young man named Colin lives a life of wealth and happiness. While he is at a party, he meets a woman named Chloe, and life turns so much sweeter. They quickly fall in love and marry.  However, during their honeymoon, Chloe contracts an illness that can only be treated by surrounding her with flowers every day. Colin must then do everything in his power to try to save his wife, and through this act of love, he begins to realize how much he must sacrifice for her survival.

Besides its plot, the movie’s style will stand out to any moviegoer. It is a beautiful movie, as the world created is vibrant and colorful. Gondry’s use of stop-motion also creates a vivid, dynamic world. As the movie progresses and tension rises, the visual composition shifts, as images seem more desaturated and decayed. In short, the film succeeds in capturing the magic behind love and the tragic emptiness behind loss.

I must emphasize, however, that this movie is not for everybody. It can be slow at some points, and the foreign-language element certainly does not help non-French speakers. I do very much recommend that people watch this movie, even though it is somewhat avant-garde. It requires concentration, so I urge you: Immerse yourself in it. Make some popcorn, get comfortable, and enjoy the surreal, romantic world that has been created for you.