You wouldn’t notice Michel Gondry unless you were looking for him. The 51-year-old French director of such fantastical, visually mesmerizing movies as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind is thin, cool, and reserved, though his boyish blue eyes contain a mischievous glimmer. When he speaks about the subjects that impassion him — including his latest film, Mood Indigo, which premiered in the US in limited release this past weekend — he exudes infectious energy.

As it happens, Mood Indigo is perhaps Gondry’s most technologically intricate movie, stuffed with stop-motion effects and elaborate Rube Goldberg-style machines. Based on a seminal 1947 French novel L'Écume des jours (Froth on the Daydream, adapted as Foam on the Daze in the US), the film is a dreamy romantic comedy that follows a wealthy French dilettante, Colin (Romain Duris), as he woos a woman, Chloe (Audrey Tautou), who falls ill with a peculiar sickness: a flower growing inside her chest. I sat down with Gondry in New York to ask ask him about the film, his upcoming projects, and his relationship with technology old and new. Mild spoilers follow.