Tuesday, February 11, 2014

255 of 1001 Movies: Delicatessen (1991)

I didn't know the details of Delicatessen when I decided to get it. I was only looking for something short on time. You can imagine my confusion and reluctance when I discovered this is a movie about cannibalism. My nightmare the night before didn't make me a happy viewer either. The truth is this was a nice surprise. If you're a fan of movies like Amelie, which has this whimsy atmosphere then you'll like the artistic direction in this one. Marco Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet both teamed up to direct this creative movie.

Summary: It's a post-apocalyptic world, and food is very much apart of how you live. Grain is currency, and meat is expensive, so Clapet a landlord and butcher has discovered a cheap way to get meat. Louison arrives as a new tenant in the apartment that Clapet also maintains order in. It's unknown what happened to the last tenant that Louison is now taking over for, but Julie, Clapet's daughter is aware that he is in danger. As she falls in love with him she feels that she must go further to rescue him from her father and the delicacy he prepares for other guests.

Acting: The acting works well for the movie, and honestly if I'd seen this movie I might have enjoyed Amelie a lot more had I timed it to be watched after it. Dominque Pinon is Louison, the clown that moves into the apartment complex. Pinon fits the odd part of the clown, and I almost felt he was mime like at times. His chemistry also works with the other lead Marie-Laure Dougnac who is Julie. They are a fitting couple for the movie, and the way she interacts with him shows slowly but appropriately how they are growing closer. Jean-Claude Dreyfuss is the scary Clapet, and it's more so the lighting and the way the director shoots his scenes that make him so terrifying. There is also Karin Viard as Mademoiselle Plusse. She was the only other constant lead I could think of, but she is very interesting to watch, and oddly becomes more annoying as the movie continues on.

Filming: The way this movie is shot is very unique. For some it might put them in mind of Tim Burton, which isn't surprising as the timeline of these two directors correlate with each other. I would say thought that Jeunet and Caro pull off the artistic direction a lot better though. There is a cohesive vibe about the movie that never mixes with other vibes in the movie. The setting is very consistent and the color tone sets the mood of the movie very well. It's warm yet there is a dark vibe to the movie. Also, Jeunet seems to love the fairy tale vibe of movies, and even though this movie has a touch of horror he still maintains that here with the shots and music.

Plot: The plot may sound a bit disgusting, but the way the story is handled feels like a fairy tale. It also has the humor driven way of the early 90's in dealing with end of the world humor. Honestly aspects of the movie just reminded me of Brazil. You do grow attached to the characters as you watched, and this is mainly a very character driven movie. The pull of the plot and the story derive from how you are following the characters.

If you haven't watched Delicatessen and you have watched Amelie then I recommend going back and watching this one as well. It's very artsy, and probably better done than Delicatessen. I felt that the other director was balancing a lot of the artsy vibe in the movie and keeping it a little real enough for the viewer to enjoy.

Rating 8 of 10.

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