Mood Indigo

"L'écume des jours" (English captions), launched the first movie of the first day of press screenings for the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival, our 40th Anniversary. It was submitted by France. Now in August 2014, it goes into general release. (Some of you saw this review in May.)

As soon as this sprightly, whimsical, fantastical bit of fluff hit the screen, I could see the deft, Oscar-winning touch of Michel Gondry ("The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") and knew we were in for a wild ride. He says "This story is true from beginning to end; I know because I wrote it myself." Computer Generated Imaging was invented for artists like Gondry and he puts it to highly visual use. (Watch the doorbell!) Then he enhances it with the music of Duke Ellington; what a great combination.

He worked with:
  • Audrey Tautou ("Amélie") as Chloé, the darling woman our hero meets at a party.
  • Romain Duris ("The Beat That My Heart Skipped") is our hero Colin, generous, witty, considerate and totally in love.
  • Omar Sy ("The Intouchables") is Nicholas, a master chef, scholar, dancer, man about town and Colin's loyal butler/cook.
  • Gad Elmaleh ("The Valet") is Chick, a fellow who has a fixation on Jean-Sol Partre, a (very) thinly disguised version of Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, so (to me) the psycho-babble is hilarious.
The production design team had a field day: I can't begin to describe the Rube Goldberg devices that surround us. You honestly have to see it to believe it. We sit there in wonderment: How did they do THAT? And the actors are so matter-of-fact about their tools, meals, vehicles, etc., that I found myself wishing I had been on the set as they filmed this one.

The story does take a darker turn when our sweet young thing is diagnosed with a water lily in her lung (trust me); then the production becomes dark, cobwebs begin to cover items and we are pulled into an emotional investment, as well. I liked this one. This was a great beginning for 2014 SIFF.
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Here is a bit to sample:
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