Exclusive: Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo

Michel Gondry’s videos are what happens when every kid’s imaginary adventures are rolled up together and then doused with peyote and jet fuel. He made a bunch of music videos with Bjork and other artists, but most people know him as the guy who directed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His newest film is based on a Boris Vian novel about an inventor and the girl he falls madly in love with, but then she starts growing a flower in her lungs and their world literally start to shrivel up. It’s called Mood Indigo, it just came out, and it’s probably the perfect project for Gondry’s visual wizardry. Milk Made sat down to talk with Gondry about becoming a fake doctor, falling in love, and fulfilling childhood dreams.

One of the things that surprised me was how you popped up in the film as the doctor who diagnoses the flower in the lungs. Why did you decide to cast yourself?

I tried different actors that I really liked, but they couldn’t do it. And then after a while I was starting to be pissed off and the scriptgirl suggested I do it so I said, “OK, if you ask me, maybe I can do it.” It was fun to do but I don’t think I would do it again. But being the doctor and the director, there are some similarities, like the relationship you have with the actor and the doctor with the patient — they are in your hands.

Now that you’ve established yourself and been around as a director, do you feel like your approach to filmmaking has changed over the last several years?

I think it changes between each movie. I think going back and forth between documentaries and films make me change a little bit of my understanding and view of how things should be done. But many people think I’ve only done one movie that counts and I have to live with that and it’s 10 years ago now. But it’s OK that I know that I’m still filming movies that I like to do, and my life is not so bad.

There’s a made up dance in Mood Indigo that I thought was real, the Biglemoi. I tried to look it up because it felt like something that could have existed in some way. Is it difficult to present something as if it actually was a part of history or culture?

That’s Boris Vian, he makes things up that seem real. The world is made up so everything can happen. That’s the thing, things happen and they’re not normal but they play out as if they were part of the world so you don’t question them. You need to get used to it but once you get used to it then anything can happen.

In this film, when the two main characters are getting married, they run through water. Is that what love feels like for you?

Yes, you don’t feel your legs. You feel like you’re floating and then you feel removed from the rest of the world and you see the world at a distance and there’s a layer between you. What’s interesting as well is that they couldn’t see anything. It’s like when you’re born, you don’t see very much of what’s going on around you so it’s like being born again in some ways when you get married. I don’t know, I’ve never been married but I hope I will one day be married and feel the same way.

The film gets quite dark. Was that difficult for you to approach because it does have such a darker tone?

No, I think that’s one of the reasons why I loved the novel. It’s because it was very dark at the end. It was like the end of the day or the end of a life and it goes dark and finishes and there’s no coming back. So I had to respect that.

Your next film, Microbes et Gasoil, is based on your childhood.

Yeah. It’s shot now, but it’s memories I experienced when I was an adolescent. But the first half of the movie is what really happened and the second half is like a dream or ambition I had that I didn’t fulfill. So I used the movie to fulfill it.

Mood Indigo is out in select cinemas now.

Michel Gondry photographed by [Chad Moore]( exclusively for Milk Made

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