Oscar winning French director Michel Gondry, is notable for his manipulative style of working, his emotive and inventive style can be attributed to his diverse working career; initially Gondry had dreams of being a painter or inventor. His directorial career began when he started directing music videos and commercial for high consumer brands such as, Adidas, Nike, Smirnoff and successful artists such as, The Rolling Stones, Bjork, Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers.
Whilst founding himself in the industry of music videos and advertisement, Gondry acquired a number of new, weird and wonderful film techniques including morphing; the infusion frozen instants-in-time with visual movement, leading to a cutting-edge Hollywood effect. Gondry also invented the idea of using several cameras to take pictures at the same time around someone.
Mood Indigo (2014) is a surreal and poetic tale of Colin and Chloe, both idealistic and inventive, the film and characters are an embodiment of Gondry’s beautiful yet strange cinematic style.
To celebrate the release of Mood Indigo, 1st August 2014, we take a look the top 5 most bizarre yet beautiful titles, cinema has to offer us;
Tree of Life (2011)
Directed by Terrence Malick, Tree of Life is an experimental drama, chronicling the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle aged man’s childhood memories; Jack O’Brien and his Texas family in the 1950s. He as an adult recalls his life as a young boy and particularly his sometimes demanding and overly strict father. Jack’s childhood was not a happy one though he remembers his mother as an angel who would do anything for her children. His father was a hard-working man and a loving father in many ways. He is frustrated however by his lack of success in life, something that he takes out on the rest of the family. Also the family struggles with the loss of his brother RL at the age of 19. He finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith, bringing vivid imagery of the creation of Earth.
Tree Of Life was nominated for 3 academy awards; Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography.
Holy Motors (2012)
Directed by Leos Carax , this Franco-German fantasy drama film has been dubbed by The Guardian’s Peter Bradsaw; “Weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact. It is wayward, kaleidoscopic, back comic and bizarre; there is in it a batsqueak of genius.”
The film is a very nonlinear film, with a series of absurdist sketches and an unconventional narrative with scarce connections. After waking up one morning, he somehow locates and opens a secret door in his apartment, and wanders into a packed movie house with an unusually large dog and people watching a film. From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part – but where are the cameras? But where is his true home, his family, his rest?
The Fall (2006)
Directed by Tarsem Singh, this adventure fantasty film is said to be, ‘a directors complete control over his vision’, to create a surreal and beautiful world. From Tarsen’s DVD commentary; “It’s hard to define… I wanted chaos without energy.”
Based at a Los Angeles hospital in the 1920s, Alexandria is a child recovering from a broken arm. She befriends Roy Walker, a movie stunt man with legs paralyzed after a fall. At her request, Roy tells her an elaborate story about six men of widely varied backgrounds who are on a quest to kill a corrupt provincial governor. Between chapters of the story, Roy wants Alexandria to scout the hospital’s pharmacy for morphine. As Roy’s fantastic tale nears its end, Death seems to be close at hand.
Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
This fantasy drama was directed by Spike Jonze, adapted from the 1963 children’s book by Maurice Sendak. It combines live-action, animatronics, costumed performers and computer generated imagery. Sendak chose Jonze to direct the film over Disney, as he thought Jonze was “young and interesting, and had a spark that none of the others had.”
The film follows a young boy named Max has an active imagination, and he will throw fits if others don’t go along with what he wants. Max – following an incident with Claire (his sister) and her friends, and following a tantrum which he throws as a result of his Mother paying more attention to her boyfriend than to him – runs away from home. Wearing his wolf costume at the time, Max not only runs away physically, but runs toward a world in his imagination. This world, an ocean away, is inhabited by large wild beasts, including one named Carol who is much like Max himself in temperament. Instead of eating Max like they normally would with creatures of his type, the wild things befriend Max after he proclaims himself a king who can magically solve all their problems. Filmed in scenic areas like deserts, forests, and rivers, the film portrays a young boy’s creativity and fantasy.
Mood Indigo (2014)
Finally we come back to Mood Indigo, directed by Michel Gondry, this French romantic fantasty is an adaptation of Boris Vian’s 1947 novel, Froth On The Daydream.
The surreal and poetic tale of Colin, an idealistic and inventive young man, and Chloé, a young woman who seems like the physical embodiment of the eponymous Duke Ellington tune.
Their idyllic marriage is turned on its head when Chloé falls sick with a water lily growing in her lung. To pay for her medical bills in this fantasy version of Paris, Colin must go out to work in a series of increasingly absurd jobs, while around them, their apartment disintegrates and their friends go to pieces.
Showcasing Gondry’s strangely beautiful style, this compelling film is yet another example of Gondry’s genius.