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ReFocus: The Films of Michel Gondry$
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Marcelline Block and Jennifer Kirby

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474456012

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456012.001.0001

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L’Amour fou Revisited: The Surrealist Poetics of Michel Gondry

L’Amour fou Revisited: The Surrealist Poetics of Michel Gondry

(p.89) Chapter 5 L’Amour fou Revisited: The Surrealist Poetics of Michel Gondry
ReFocus: The Films of Michel Gondry

Sian Mitchell

Edinburgh University Press

Sian Mitchell’s chapter traces the legacy of Frenchpoetic realist director Jean Vigo (1905–34) in Gondry’s work. Drawing on the surrealist theories of André Breton, this chapter argues that early surrealism has influenced not only Gondry’s visual style, but also his thematic interests. This chapter notes how Gondry aesthetically explores the surrealist concept of l’amour fou (mad love), which appears in the way he depicts the intimate relationships of his protagonists as transforming the ontological and temporal qualities of their environments. This chapter examines Gondry’s films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Mood Indigo for traces of this influence and draws connections to Vigo’s iconic L’Atalante (1934), positioning these works in the lineage of cinematic depictions of mad love. This chapter argues that in both Gondry’s and Vigo’s films, l’amour fou is embodied through a love that also challenges normative conceptions of space and time.

Keywords:   Michel Gondry, Jean Vigo, André Breton, Surrealism, L’Amour fou/Mad Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, L’Atalante, Mood Indigo, Romance

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