The fantastic visions of Belgian filmmakers Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet find full fruition in this fairy tale for adults. Evoking utopias and dystopias from Brazil to Peter Pan, Caro and Jeunet create a vivid but menacing fantasy city in a perpetually twilight world. In this rough port town lives circus strongman One (Ron Perlman), who wanders the alleys and waterfront dives looking for his baby brother, snatched from him by a mysterious gang preying upon the children of the town. Rising from the harbor is an enigmatic castle where lives the evil scientist Krank (Daniel Emilfork), who has lost the ability to dream and robs the nocturnal visions of the children he kidnaps, but receives only mad nightmares from the lonely cherubs. Other wild characters include the Fagin-like Octopus—Siamese twin sisters who control a small gang of runaways-turned-thieves—Krank’s six cloned henchmen (all played by the memorable Dominique Pinon from Delicatessen), and a giant brain floating in an aquarium (voiced by Jean-Louis Trintignant). Caro and Jeunet are kindred souls to Terry Gilliam (who is a vocal fan), creating imaginative flights of fancy built of equal parts delight and dread, which seem to be painted on the screen in rich, dreamy colors. –Sean Axmaker
The artist and comic book designer, Marc Caro switched to filmmaking in the early 1980s and formed a writing and directing partnership with Jean-Pierre Jeunet which has produced two visually striking, complex and somewhat impenetrable features: “Delicatessen” (1991), a fantasy about cannibalism, and “La cite des enfants perdu/The City of Lost Children” (1995), a phantasmagoric fairy tale. Both were greatly enhanced by the visual and sound effects, production and costume designs and score. Caro and Jeunet divide the directing responsibilities with the former handling the artistic matters and the latter guiding the actors.
Jeunet and Caro initially formed their partnership after meeting at an animation film festival. Working together, they created a number of short films, music videos and TV commercials in which they developed their particularly surreal style. Their short, “Le Bunker de la derniere rafale/The Last Blast Bunker” (1980), traced the growing mental deterioration of… read more
Several years before he helmed the fourth Alien film, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, together with fellow French cinema wunderkind/creative partner Marc Caro, made his mark on international cinema with two of the most distinctive films of the 1990s. Collaborating throughout the 1980s on ads, music videos, and such shorts as Le Manège (1980), Jeunet and Caro honed their signature visual flair and darkly comic sensibility; Jeunet’s solo effort Foutaises (1989) won a César for Best Short Film. Bringing their unique style to feature films in the 1990s, Jeunet and Caro’s debut work Delicatessen (1991) became an international art film sensation. Hailed for its grotesquely comic and oddly touching tale of post-nuclear survival amid a group of eccentrics in an ominous, almost palpably clammy yet cartoon-like “retro future” setting, Delicatessen attracted an ardent following and earned several festival prizes and two Césars. Flush from Delicatessen’s success, Jeunet and Caro finally made a feature they’d… read more
This has been my #1 favorite movie of all time and it always will be. Also...this is what made me love Ron Perlman. It's too bad he is in so many bad things these days so often. He really is so much better than that. Regardless, there's no real way to explain a movie like this...but don't listen to the bad reviews....they just didn't get it or something. It's really an incredibly good movie... the story is great too.
As a story it hangs together very sloppily, but luckily some of the performances and most of the camerawork is interesting enough to keep it compelling throughout. Highly flawed but still worth watching for novelty's sake.
It's like a cartoon come to life. The visuals are nothing short of stunning; they burst with color and life and the framing and camera work is always inspired. I love the world that was created. The downfall is that the story, while it is emotional and has moments of great beauty, never really hooked me in completely. It felt like it was secondary to the visuals. Overall, though, a thoroughly enjoyable film.