Fantastical Food from Michel Gondry's New Film 'Mood Indigo'

We spoke with set designer Stéphane Rozenbaum about designing the whimsical food imagery of 'Mood Indigo'
Fantastical Food from Michel Gondry's New Film 'Mood Indigo'
Michel Gondry

Romain Duris and Audrey Tatou star in Michel Gondry's newest surreal love story, Mood Indigo.

Before he meets Chloé (Audrey Tautou), Colin (Romain Duris) is an independently wealthy, idealistic inventor who is working on a Rube Goldberg-esque machine called the pianocktail, a piano which creates drinks based on how it’s played.

Play too fervently, for example, and an egg that’s meant to be stirred into a drink might get cooked instead.

Two cocktails are created by the pianocktail in Drafthouse Films’ Mood Indigo. Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.

In Mood Indigo, the latest film from Michel Gondry, the strange and surrealist food sequences provide some crucial moments of lightheartedness as the couple’s romance turns incredibly melancholy, all set to the music of Duke Ellington.

Chloé falls ill (a water lily is growing invasively in her lung) and the movie’s tone darkens throughout.

Omar Sy plays Nicholas, Colin’s best friend and lawyer, as well as personal chef, whose fantastical creations dance all over the kitchen, and are alive even when they’re cooked properly, like the slippery eel that finds its way into the pipes, or the cake made of pink ribbon and cotton puffs.

In Gondry’s films, nothing is limited to the physical dimensions of the world, and inanimate objects can’t be made to stay still.

We’ve got exclusive images of the incredible food imagery throughout the film, which debuts in the U.S. on July 18. We also spoke recently with Stéphane Rozenbaum, the film’s set designer, about creating the film’s whimsical culinary elements.  

A delectable cake in Drafthouse Films’ Mood Indigo. Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.

Cake with a measure of philosophy in Drafthouse Films’ Mood Indigo. Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.

What design elements did you have in mind when you were designing the kitchen?

I wanted to mix together different periods of time. The kitchen has objects from 1900 to 1960, and we designed the food by looking at old cookbooks from the 1960s by French chefs and used the photographs for our designs. 

What is the food in the film made out of?

Tissue, wool, wood, and jewelry — everything besides food.

A gourmet eel platter in Drafthouse Films’ Mood Indigo. Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.

A typical French picnic complete with roasted boar’s head in Drafthouse Films’ Mood Indigo. Courtesy of Drafthouse Films

How long did it take to build the pianocktail?

It took three months. Everything works — not from inside the piano but from outside the set we could control all the liquids and elements.

The food gets worse throughout the film as Chloe gets sick.

Yes, the apartment gets smaller and smaller, the ceiling gets pushed down. The food gets worse and worse as a metaphor of her being sick.

A feast is set in Drafthouse Films’ Mood Indigo. Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.

Mood Indigo opens in select theaters in the United States on July 18. Watch the trailer below:

For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.

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