Saturday, March 21, 2009

Amélie - my current/ongoing obsession

"Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" is a film that after reading a brief synopsis, I would have avoided like
the plague. It screams “chick flick” . Jean-Pierre Jeunet, however is no “Beaches” imitator. His previous films such as “La Cité des enfants perdus”, “Delicatessen” and the tragically forgettable “Alien: Resurrection” (you can’t blame him for trying to make some money I suppose) made it impossible not to go out and see it.

The lead (the brilllant Audrey Tautou) has what in any other film would be portrayed as a very sad existence. (Her over protective and cold parents, the death of her mother, friendless childhood and her inability to relate to anyone or even form friendships other than a pleasant rapport with co-workers as a young adult). Under Juenet, this subject matter is transformed in to the sweetest, funniest film about 2 misfits, happlily living in their own solitary worlds of simple pleasures finding each other.

Sweet as Amélie seems, she certainly has a mean streak or at the very least, heightened sense of how social injustices should be punished. Nothing is simple for her. When she sees the boy of her dreams (Mathieu Kassovitz)... she can’t just ask him to take a coffee... she has to create the most elaborate scheme ever devised to meet him and at the same time, keep her distance. Being just as maladjusted as she is, he rises to the occasion and she realizes her goal, despite herself. I n some ways, it’s a throw back to those Astaire/Rogers romances in those absurd, yet somehow relateable stories.It gives hope to every social misfit, that being yourself eventaully can pay off in finding someone compatible and equally odd without compromising your soul, or even having the enter “the real world”, where ever that is.

For a film I would never had seen in normal conditions, I find that I can’t even look at the DVD without putting it in and watching the whole thing over again... and again. Am I so wrong to love this film so much?

His next film, “Un long dimanche de finançialles” with the same actress was equally good in some ways. Much more bitter sweet and with a scene so shocking in violence, yet so perfect to convey exactly how someone can completely lose their mind in the horrors of war, it was almost the “anti-Amélie” as a polio stricken women searches for her love lost in the war and actually succeeds but not in the way she had hoped. It leaves you to decide if she really even found him or just what was left of him.


Donna Lethal said...

Me, too! I loved this film. Funny, though, I haven't seen his follow up. I think a lot of people were misled by the way the film was promoted as the "funny/quirky" type when instead what they got was something else.

Vincent-louis said...

The follow up seems like another "Amélie" in the pro-mo stuff... it had humour but it's also a very different story and I thought really worth seeing as well. Amélie is one of those "in a catagory all it's own" films I think.

Pantheon Zeus said...

AMELIE was an instant classic in my book.
When Audrey Tatou showed up as the descendant of Christ in that snoozefest The Davinci Code, I was underwhelmed by her appearance.

Amelie was the role and film of a lifetime

much like Roman Holiday was perfect for Audrey Hepburn.

Vincent-louis said...

Davinci code was awful all the way around to me... I liked her in “Un long dimanche de finançialles” as the polio stricken girl looking for her supossedly killed lover... but it was no "Amélie"... what could be though?

Alexandre Fabbri said...

For those who have seen Jean-Pierre Jeunet's romantic French film, here is some background information and the filming locations of Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain in and around the Montmartre district of Paris.

À bientôt,
Alexandre Fabbri
Brasserie Alizé

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