City of the Lost Children

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!
Or I will stab you in ze eye!

I bought City of the Lost Children a few years back after enjoying both Amelie and Delicatessen, due to the stupid no DVD release in the UK I had to import it. But I find it possibly one of Jeunet’s best contributions to a film for its fantastical proportion.

I was flabbergasted, flabbergasted!!! To find one soul on the imdb forums that claimed to believe that Jeunet and Caro’s stylings were similar to that of Tim Burton! :O I think not my dear friend! Look up someone like Gilliam and you will know that Burton’s imagination is very limited when looking at other directors.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro–directing Delicatessen together before Jeunet went off to do Amelie and A Very Long Engagement- Starring Ron Perlman (One), Daniel Emilfork (Krank), Judith Vittet (Miette), Dominique Pinon (les clones/scaphandrier), Jean-Claude Dreyfus (Marcello) and Genevieve Brunet/Odile Mallet (la Pieuvre)

Hmmm, well the story mainly follows One (Perlman); whose little brother has been taken by the Cyclops, who sell their children to Mademoiselle Bismuth who then takes them to a far away lighthouse, where a group attempt to steal their dreams, in an attempt to slow Krank’s ageing process. One forms a partnership with Miette (a young girl) who helps One to locate his brother. The film is hard to explain, but it very much reliant on chains of events, one particular scene is most obvious with this. But if you think about everything that happens in the film, everything is related.

Once again, like with The Seventh Seal, I find it hard to ‘sell’ foreign films –knowing few people that would be willing to watch a film with subtitles. But if you enjoyed Amelie then you should love City of the Lost Children. I suppose I can recommend it to lovers of elaborate fantasy films, and perhaps people that are willing to watch an enjoyable film dubbed *shudder*.

Besides starring many usuals of Jeunet and Caro, City of the Lost Children most notably stars Ron Perlman (who could not speak a word of French) who fits his usual role of the big strong guy; his character being relatively slow but kind, but he did a good job nonetheless. Perlman aside, the film boasts a large cast of strange and interesting characters, another favourite of mine being Mademoiselle Bismuth –the rather short woman- who just delivers one of the funniest lines (IMO) in the film. Other comments I suppose I could add, was that on Dominique Pinon, whereas in Delicatessen he is great, but six (is it?) clones of him is a little too much.

The screenplay is great, inside the film there are some completely absurd lines, as well as some very strange occurrences, and the film itself could be noted as surreal in many aspects. The story itself of course ends in happiness, with many (most probably un-expectant) twists and turns along the way.

Four words: “I’m allergic to steel” made the film for me, although you have to wait right up until the end to hear it, but my oh my is it worth the wait! Hilarious I tell you!  Other reasons for which I love the film I feel are primarily based upon its roots as a film relying on a chain of events. The sole reason that I like the Final Destination films are for the same reason, it is always great fun to have something completely unexpected happen… just because a bird pooed on a car.

Bad points are always hard for myself to locate, I suppose, if its relevant enough I do not like the film for not getting a general release on DVD much like Svankmajer’s films *shakes fist* Otherwise I cannot think of a thing.

The film is great, and although I cannot say that I have watched many French films, it is one of my favourites, due to its fantastical manner, the same very reasons that films like Brazil, Baron Munchausen and Big Fish will always remain close to my heart.

Cptalbertwesker Rating –8/10
A greatly enjoyable fantasy film comparable in style and proportion to that of Terry Gilliam, with some strange interesting characters, it is only a shame that there is no official release of it in the UK.


At 3:55 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Finally someone who appreciates City of Lost Children AND Svankmajer! Tell me you also liked Arizona Dream, and I'll propose marriage right now.


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