“You ain’t been blue, till you’ve had that mood indigo,” goes the classic jazz standard “Mood Indigo,” and fans of Michel Gondry will indeed be feeling that way upon this morning’s news. The director’s latest is still without a U.S. distributor, while it continues to open in various international territories, and has played a couple of festivals too (Karlovy Vary and New Zealand). However, it appears those folks outside of France are getting a very different movie than the one Gondry released in his home country this spring.
The folks of Dark Horizons received a memo from Australian distributor Vendetta Films alerting media that the version being released in the country is a full 36 minutes shorter than the original two hours plus running time of the movie. It’s “a VERY different film experience” they note, while adding that this cut will “now be the version released in all territories outside of France.” It’s not clear if Gondry himself made the edit or the producers trying to sell the movie abroad, but it’s underscored that this version is “a looser adaptation of [Boris Vian‘s] novel,” which the movie is based on.
So, is this a Harvey Scissorhands-esque hacking of Gondry’s movie, a crude way to bring this flick to audiences overseas or an honest effort to make the fantastical film digestible? To be certain, when our own Jessica Kiang saw the movie at Karlovy Vary, she noted the lengthy running time as something of an issue in the film in her review. Here’s an excerpt:
Gondry’s film is really a huge Rube Goldberg machine, full of lights and buzzers and levers that ping and whistle endearingly but are connected to nothing and serve no greater function in the larger apparatus. And while it feels churlish to complain about too much care and intricate creativity lavished on a production when most Hollywood films suffer from a lack of same, at 2 hours 15 minutes it just wore us down.
While many will already cry out at the horrific treatment of another foreign film before it reaches U.S. shores (remember, folks are still reeling from even the mere suggestion that “Snowpiercer” will be re-cut), perhaps this gives Gondry (if he’s involved) another crack at making his picture work. As always we’ll wait to see how this shakes out, or who will eventually take on the movie for a U.S. release.